Ramphastos Sulfuratus, is classified with the woodpecker family and contains more than 40 species total. Toucans and the smaller species of Toucanets and Aracaris all mostly found in the tropic areas of the Americas with a total of six species alone being found in Costa Rica and commonly seen while driving or staying at your Costa Rica Hotels. From the country’s Pacific slope to the Caribbean lowlands, visitors can observe the following Toucan Species: Keel-Billed, Chestnut-Mandibled, Emerald Toucanet, Yellow-eared Toucanet, Collared Aracari and the Fiery-Billed Aracari.
Sightings of toucans in the wild is always a thrill, and generally not difficult in Costa Rica with the large size of the bird, its Toucans call, this is often a much easier to first pick them out of the dense rainforest.
Color and size variations can occur between species, but all Toucans are frugivores, eating fleshy fruits such as papaya, cecropia, berries and palm. They typically forage in the middle canopy layers of the forest and occasionally supplement their diet with eggs, small reptiles, insects and bird hatchlings they find.
Populations and Habitat
Toucans are relatively large active forest birds, usually observed in flocks of 2 to 12 members and sometimes even more. They follow each other from one
It has been observed that individual fruit trees are sometimes defended by a mated Toucan pair from other scavenger toucans or other frugivorous birds, including the making of threat displays against other toucans such as the larger Chestnut Mandibled toucans (the largest in Costa Rica) which have been know to bully the slightly smaller Keel-Billed Toucan's by chasing them away after they successfully locate a fruit-laden tree.
Toucans are common residents in many regions of Costa Rica, threatened mostly by extensive deforestation in their natural Manuel Antonio National Park, and many parts of the Central Valley and Guanacaste Province.
Once a male Toucan partners with a female, they mate and remain together as a pair through the nesting season, foraging and parenting as a
Summary of Interesting Toucan Facts:
Toucans are frugivores, so they eat mostly fruits and nuts. However, they occasionally snack on insects and small lizards as well.
What are the predator threats to Toucans?
Snakes and lizards often raid bird nests, effecting the ability to reach adult numbers. Also, birds of prey, such as eagles and hawks can be a threat to the smaller or younger species. Felines, such as jaguars and margays will also eat a toucan given the opportunity.
How do Toucans protect or defend themselves?
Toucans nest and sleep in hollow tree holes. Toucan groups will often make a raucous chorus of noise should a predator approach the flock, usually serving to scare off the threat.
When trying to spot Toucans, where should I be looking?
Toucans generally live in the upper canopy layer, where they can build nests and better protect their young from understory and forest floor predators, as well as guarding against extreme inclimate weather.
Beyond their natural beauty, why do we need Toucans?
What purpose does the large Toucan bill serve?
In the Journal of Science a team of researchers has discovered the primary purpose of the large Toucan bill… to stay cool. Apparently Toucans can regulate the flow of blood to their bill to stay cool throughout the day or to conserve heat as needed should the weather turn cold. With a bill that makes up 30% of their size it’s like having their own personal radiator system!
So the next time you spot one of these amazing creatures, not only will you be mystified by their pure beauty, but you will have a new appreciation for the important purpose they serve in the Eco-Systems of Costa Rica! Happy Bird watching!!
Learn more about the Toucans of Costa Rica:
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and owns and manages her own Vacation Rental Home business Manuel Antonio Rental Homes.