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The White-Throated Toucan

The white throated toucan.

The white-throated toucan is a South American member of the Ramphastidae family, widely distributed throughout the Amazon and the Andes, particularly the majority of its population is found in eastern Peru, which is the place with the most presence of toucans, mostly of this species.

General Description

Toucans are birds with very striking colored feathers and beak. They can measure up to 60 cm. Their beak is long, massive with serrated teeth, reaches a third of its size and is very light due to the numerous chambers it has, so it does not hinder flight.

Its tongue is very long (reaching up to 14 cm), narrow, flattened and ends in a point. It has small, short and rounded wings. In some species, the square tail moves up and down with striking ease, drawing attention.

Brightly colored skin sometimes surrounds the eyes.

A smiling young white-throated toucan.
A smiling young white-throated toucan.

Importance of their Beak

It uses its beak as a weapon and to take the fruits found at the tips of very thin branches.

It has recently been discovered that its beak is used to regulate body temperature, regulating the blood flow of the numerous vessels of the beak. In addition, it is formed by a substance called keratin, which forms a sponge-like structure. These characteristics make it amazingly resistant to blows, but at the same time very light.

Diet and Mating

The white throated toucan feed on fruits, insects and other prey such as small lizards, chicks and eggs of other birds.

They are arboreal, usually perching on branches instead of climbing them, and nesting in tree hollows, laying two to four eggs.

They use the beak as pliers, stretching their neck forward to reach the food. Toucans are not migratory birds, thence their pressence is ensured in the Peruvian Amazon throughout the year. They are usually found in pairs or small flocks.

A tocan standing atop a branch.


Toucans are sociable birds that live in flocks of about a dozen. They spend their entire life in the trees and feed on fruits, insects and spiders.

Occasionally they eat eggs and newly hatched chicks of other species. In captivity they eat caterpillars, insects and ground meat. To swallow they make a sudden movement with their head.


Most toucans make a monotonous sound or produce a very primitive warble.

They make their nests in tree cavities and lay 2 to 4 white eggs and the incubation period is 43 to 46 days. Young toucans have shorter beaks than adults but there are few differences in plumage by age or sex.

A rescued toucan shows how the serrated shape of its beak
A rescued toucan shows how the serrated shape of its beak

Visit their Habitat

Keen to observe these friendly flying species? Join Peru Amazon Trips for a thorough guide in the Amazon to have the chance of checking these birds and many other species of wildlife and flora in the Peruvian rainforests.

Contact us for more information on how to spot these unique animals and many more with Peru Amazon Trips!

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