What are some interesting facts about toucans?


Quick Answer

Toucans are indigenous South American birds that are famous for their large, colorful bills, which can comprise up to half of their body length. There are approximately 40 different Toucan species.

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Full Answer

Toucans mainly use their bills to gather and skin or peel the fruit, insects, young birds, lizards or bird eggs that they eat. Male and female toucans also use their bills to toss fruit back and forth to one another during mating rituals.

Female toucans usually lay two to four eggs per year in tree-hole nests. However, both toucan parents feed and raise their young until the hatchlings are mature enough to leave the nest. The young toucans are born with small bills that take several months to grow to full-size.

Toucans' rear three vertebrae are fused to their spines through a ball and socket joint. This unusual structural composition allows their tails to cover their heads while they are sleeping.

A toucan's bill contains a large amount of air that makes it effective for deterring predators but not for defending themselves against predatory attacks. The birds sometimes use their bill to establish dominance within their approximate six-bird flocks. Toucans do not migrate and generally live in the same place throughout their entire lives.

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