Toucans are tropical rainforest bird found in Mexico, Central America and South America. In the wild there are many varieties and their habitat wildly differs depending on the species.
Some make their home in the coastal rainforests opposite and still others are resident in the high altitude forests found in the North of South America. They inhabit forests that are at such high altitudes (as high as 2700m) that where they further north in the countries of Ecuador Peru and Columbia likely there would be no forest is the area would have permits snow. The low lands varieties can be found as far south in South America as Argentina.
Entimology and General Information Toucans are all members of the bird species Ramphastidae, and I clearly identifiable by their long trademark bill. They are intelligent, entertaining and curious birds – you can almost hear their brain ticking when they tilt their head is it the eyes something from a different angle to better understand it. They are unable to talk this is not detract from their desirability as a pet bird due to their playful nature and their willingness to interact with their owners. Many will enjoy sitting on the shoulder and all playing games such as fetch will catch. The larger versions are called Toucans. The smaller individuals include Toucanets and aracaris.
Toucans as Pets Note, at the time of writing this article, there are no Toucan Breeders in Australia and they are not available to purchase as pets. Since the importation of birds as pets is now outlawed in Australia is most unlikely that they will ever now become available as a domestic pet.
The attraction of a toucan as a pet is a curious affable nature. They are a delight to watch as they explore their environment and now happily play with and around their owner. They are very companionable and will take great joy in sitting on your lap for a cuddle. In many ways they are far more like a cat as a pet than a parrot – indeed when they are sitting on your lap contented you may well find your toucan purring (true!).
They won’t talk like a parrot, but they lack all the negative traits of parrots too. They don’t bite with the crushing power of a beak made to eat seed and nuts. They don’t scream. They don’t chew things like the new couch, and they are less allergenic, as they don’t have feather dander.
Pricewise and availability in general is determined by size. The larger varieties are more difficult to source and subsequently much more expensive.
Diet Think fruit. Lots of it and many different types. In the wild the diet is extremely varied as different fruits grown different types of the year in the forest. They are not seed eaters and should never be given birdseed. Birdseed contains too much iron and will poison them. In the wild they obtain their protein needs from insects which they will eat more during the mating season.
While it is impossible to even approximate their wild diet, they can be properly fed. Fruit will make up the bulk of their diet. They have evolved a specialized digestive system to process fruit, and they get most of their moisture from fruit, not from drinking water. For that reason, toucans must be fed fresh fruit EVERY DAY! Seeds, on the other hand, MUST NOT be fed.
Papayas are perfect as the primary fruit, bananas, grapes, and blue berries are a good addition. Go for a mix of 70% papaya, 20% banana, and the rest in grapes and berries. Rockmelon can be substituted for papaya.
Most fruits are good for Toucans, but the above fruits are good as they are available all year round, and you need not wait for your toucan to acclimatise to a new diet when new fruits are introduced. Best to stay away from citrus, it can be too acidic and the acid may also increase the amount of iron they absorb it is unhealthy for them.
Fresh water should be provided at all times, though you toucan will tend to play with it, rather than drink it, fruit providing the majority of their fluids.
Health Issues Toucans, toucanets, and aracaris are fairly hardy birds. They have a life span of approximately 20 years, and the record is 26. Almost all health problems can be traced back to a poor diet If obtained free of serious disease and given a good diet expect them to have happy and long life.