What Do Toucans Eat?

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Toucan birds eat primarily fruits and insects, but some varieties like the Toco are known to eat younger birds, lizards and eggs. The birds are omnivores, which means that they eat many different kinds of food.

Toucans enjoy eating fruit. Their long bills are adapted to cracking open the hard shells of tropical fruits. When eating fruit, the toucan pulls it off the branch with its bill and then tosses the fruit up in the air before swallowing it whole. One of the toucan’s favorite fruits is the banana passion fruit. Toucans are particularly fond of fruit that is brightly colored because this type of fruit is easier for them to locate.

If toucans fail to find fruit, they look for smaller prey such as juicy insects, tree frogs, snakes and lizards. In particular, toucans tend to hunt for the nests of other birds to prey on the chicks and eggs found there. This is a habit many toucans adopt especially when they need to feed their own young birds. This is because younger birds tend to have a larger protein requirement.

The fruit eating habits of toucans are often important to local trees that depend on them to scatter around seeds.