Red-billed Toucan

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Common Name: Red-billed or White-throated Toucan
Scientific Name: Ramphastos tucanus

Size: 20 - 24 inches (50-61 cm)

Habitat: South America. Found throughout the Amazon in south-eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru, northern Bolivia, southern and eastern Venezuela, northern and western Brazil, including the Amazon Basin's adjacent Tocantins-Araguaia River drainage, and the Guianas.

It prefers tropical humid forest, but also occurs in woodland and locally in riverine forest within the Cerrado.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: Population size has not been quantified but this species’ population appears to be in decline. Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable.

Diet: Primarily an arboreal fruit-eater, but will also take insects, lizards, eggs, and other small vertebrate prey. Small flocks or more commonly pairs of birds move through the forest with a heavy, rather weak, undulating flight, rarely flying more than 100 m (330 ft) at a time.

Nesting: It has black plumage with a white throat and breast bordered below with a narrow red line. The rump is bright yellow and the crissum is red. The bare skin around the eye is blue. The bill has a yellow tip, upper ridge and base of the upper mandible, and the base of the lower mandible is blue. The rest of the bill is mainly black in R. t. cuvieri and mainly reddish-brown in R. t. tucanus, with intergrades showing a mixed coloration. Males are larger and longer-billed than females, but otherwise the sexes are alike.

Juveniles are noticeably shorter-billed, more sooty-black, and have duller plumage.

The 2–4 white eggs are laid in an unlined cavity high in a decayed section of a living tree, or in an old woodpecker nest in a dead tree.

Both sexes incubate the eggs for at 14–15 days, and the toucan chicks remain in the nest after hatching. They are blind and naked at birth, with short bills, and have specialized pads on their heels to protect them from the rough floor of the nest. They are fed by both parents, and fledge after about 6 weeks. The parents continue feeding the juveniles for several weeks after they have left the nest.

Cool Facts: It was formerly considered to be two species, with the southern and western nominate subspecies, R. t. tucanus, named the Red-billed Toucan, and the northern and eastern subspecies, R. t. cuvieri, Cuvier's Toucan (when considered a species; R. cuvieri, Wagler, 1827). However, the two subspecies, which differ principally in the bill color, interbreed freely wherever they meet and therefore merit only subspecies status. The subspecies R. t. inca from Bolivia is of questionable validity and may represent a stable hybrid population between tucanus and culminatus.

The distribution of the White-throated Toucan completely overlaps that of a smaller species of toucan, the Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus). In eastern Amazonia, these two species differ in the color of the breast and of the bill, but in western Amazonia the color patterns of the two species are almost identical. The smaller species is a member of the "croaking" group of toucans, with very different, frog-like vocalizations, and has a relatively smaller bill.

Found in Songbird ReMix Toucans 2

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