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June 29, 2020

The toucan is a generic name, derived from the Guarani tupi, used to designate the 42 species of birds of the family Ramphastidae.

Also popularly called tocos in Peru and Bolivia, pinsha in Ecuador, diostedé or deustede in Brazil.


Characteristics of the Toucan

These birds are characterized by their large beaks and plumages of various colors, in which black, blue, yellow and brown tones predominate.

The stumps can measure 30 to 65 centimeters long and weigh up to 680 grams, depending on the species.

Diostedé or Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus ariel - Northeastern Brazil
Diostedé or Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus ariel – Northeastern Brazil
Ana_Cotta / CC BY


They are birds that live in a single territory throughout their lives, which makes them quite sedentary.

They are great seed dispersers; the best known of the toucans is the Ramphastos cuvieri, called pinsha in Quechua.

Pinsha Ramphastos tucanus Inca
Pinsha Ramphastos tucanus Inca
staphylococcus by Gabriela / CC BY-SA

Its dominant color is black, although its belly is white with a red band. Its powerful beak combines several colors: black, yellow and blue.

Food and habitat of the toucan

The toucan’s diet is based on fruits, insects, small reptiles and eggs and chicks of other birds.

Toco toucan Ramphastos toco in captivity
Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco in captivity
Chris Parfitt CC BY

It is generally found in tropical rainforests from Mexico to northern Argentina.

Diostedé toco can be found in the Guyanas, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, northern Argentina, Paraguay and northern Uruguay.

Preferably on the banks of rivers and lakes, it is a common bird in the Amazon River basin.

Drawing for coloring

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