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Toucan

Toucans are members of the Ramphastida family of near passerine birds of the Neotropics. There are about 40 different species in five genera

The toco toucan also known as the common toucan is the largest of all toucans with males measuring about 50 cm in length and weighing about 720 g.

Toucans are native to Southern Mexico, Central America, South American and the Caribbean and live in a range of habitats including tropical forests, savannas and shrublands.

The word toucan derives from a Tupi word, tukana. Tupi is an extinct language that was spoken by the native Tupi people of Brazil.

Tucana is a constellation of stars in the southern sky most of the Small Magellanic Cloud. It is named after the toucan and was conceived in the late sixteenth century by Petrus Plancius, a Flemish astronomer.

Although toucans’ bills are very large they are made of a spongy material called keratin and are therefore lightweight in relation to their size.

Toucans have been known to live up to 18 years in zoos.

Toucans regulate their body temperature by adjusting the flow of blood to their beak. When toucans sleep they tuck their beak under their feathers to stay warm.

Toucans are capable of flight but their short wings mean they have difficulty flying for long distances and move about by hopping between trees.

Toucan Sam has been the mascot of Kellogg’s Froot Loops breakfast cereals since the 1960s.

A toucan’s diet consists mainly of fruit but they will sometimes eat insects and small lizards and frogs.

The smallest toucan is the tawny-tufted toucanet measuring just 35 cm in length.

Dorothy Sayers, who went on to become a famous crime writer, wrote the well known advertising slogan, “If he can say as you can “Guinness is good for you” How grand to be a Toucan Just think what Toucan do.”

Toucans live together in small flocks and make their nests in tree hollows or abandoned holes made by their distant cousins, woodpeckers.

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