Friday, 2 September 2011

Toco toucan

Ramphastos toco

(Photo from Papagaios & Cia)

Common name:

Order Piciformes
Family Ramphastidae

This South American species is found in much of the northern and central parts of the continent, from Suriname and the French Guyana, through Brazil, Bolivia and Peru and into Paraguay and northern Argentina.

The largest of the toucans, these birds are 55-65 cm long and weigh 600-760 g.

Toco toucans are most commonly found in dry semi-open areas, which include regions such as woodland, savanna, cerrado, plantations, and other regions that consist of scattered trees. They are often found in gallery forests, along river corridors. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.750 m.
They mostly eat fruits from trees such as genipapo Genipa americana, agarrapolo Ficus luschnathiana and ambay pumpwood Cecropia pachystachya. These birds also take insects and other invertebrates, frogs, small reptiles and sometimes raid the nests of other birds for eggs and chicks, including those of the endangered hyacinth macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus.
Toco toucans breed in October-December. They nest in a tree cavity, either a pre-existing hole or a hole excavated by the parents high in the forest canopy. There the female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 17-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 6-8 weeks after hatching. Each pair produces just 1 broods per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to hunting pressure and the collection of young birds for the pet trade.

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