Description:The Keel-billed Toucan, popularized by Fruit Loops, measures up to 22 inches in length and is the national bird of Belize. In Belize, it is called the Bill Bird. The toucan’s large bill, which makes up one third of the bird’s total length, is made of spongy keratin. It is largely green with a conspicuous orange marking at the base that blends to a blue toward the tip and ends in dark red. The toucan itself is mostly black with a bright yellow face, throat, and upper breast. The black eyes have prominent light blue rings around them. The toucan’s “creek..creek” song is said to sound like the croaking of a frog.
The Keel-bird Toucan is a social bird and usually travels through the rainforest in small groups of between six and twelve individuals. Toucans are poor fliers and prefer to move by hopping from branch to branch.
Diet: The Keel-billed Toucan eats a wide variety of rainforest fruits as well as tree frogs, eggs, insects, and lizards. To swallow fruit, the toucan picks it off of a branch, tosses it in the air, catches it with its bill and swallows it whole.
Habitat/Range:The Keel-billed Toucan ranges from southern Mexico, through Central America to parts of northern South America such as Colombia and Venezuela. Toucans prefer the canopy levels of rainforests and often roost together in tree cavities.
Breeding: Females lay 2-4 eggs that are cared for by both parents. The eggs hatch in two to three weeks and both parents take turns feeding the chicks. Interestingly, the eyes of toucan chicks only open after about three weeks. Chicks stay in the nest for 8-9 weeks as their bills fully develop.
Status: Populations are stable.