There are 42 species of Toucans found throughout the world. Six of them live in Costa Rica.
A toucan’s most recognizable feature is it’s beak. The beak is surprisingly light weight, because it is hollow. Scientists continue to be baffled why toucans have such oversized beaks.
Toucans are only found in the tropics. The keel-billed and the chestnut-madibled toucans are the largest toucan in Costa Rica. They live throughout Central America and northwestern South America.
The male Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan can grow to be as large as 1.5 feet in length. The female is a bit smaller. The beak alone can reach up to 7 inches depending on sex and age. That’s about half the bird’s body length.
Toucans are considered frugivorous, meaning they eat mostly fruits and seeds. Although toucans will also eat small insects and small reptiles as well. Maybe that’s why they have such large beaks: to help them eat a wide variety of foods.
Scientists aren’t sure why toucans have developed such a large beak. But it certainly makes them easy to point out in a crowd.
Toucans live high in the treetops around lowland rainforests. When the nest, they live in small holes inside of hollowed trees.
Toucans are usually seen in pairs, or small groups. During the hottest part of the day, toucans shade themselves in the deep foliage. The most interesting behaviors of this bird are its vocalizations. There are several shrill, yelping sounds this bird makes. One is a yelping “keeuREEK kirick, kirick,” or “yo-YIP a-yip, a-yip,” often repeated constantly. The most recognized call has to be the “keeyos taday taday” repeated at short intervals. This call has been described by locals as being “Dios te de, te de, te de,” which is Spanish for “God keep you.”