Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Toco Toucan

Normally when I feature an animal in a post I want it to be something I've seen in the wild. However, in our COVID-19 shortened trip to Brazil and Argentina we missed out on some animals I'd hoped to see because our trail walking at Iguazu Falls was cut short by having to fly home early. So I'm going to feature at least one bird I'd hoped to see in the wild and was unable to.
Before we were dropped off at the airport for our flight home, our taxi dropped us off at the Bird Park (Parque das Aves) in Iguazu Falls (Foz do Iguacu). One of the birds I was really wanting to see in the wild was the toucan. I've only ever seen even a few in zoos. The bird park had only one species of toucan, the toco toucan, but it was spectacular. 
Toco toucan
Its body is mostly black, with a white throat, chest and uppertail-coverts, a red undertail covert and a huge bill (6 to 9 inches long) which is yellow/orange to reddish/orange with a black base and a large spot on the tip. The toco toucan has blue skin around the eye which is then surrounded by a ring of orange skin. 
The only good photo I have that shows the red undertail covert. 
Close-up of the blue and orange skin around the eye and the magnificent bill. 
The bill is 30% to 50% of the body surface area, the most of any bird, which functions as a heat exchange to regulate heat distribution, comparable to the large ears of an elephant. 
Front view gives a very interesting look. It almost looks like a vulture. 
Another interesting angle of the bill. 
It is the largest and best known species of toucan and is found mostly in Brazil, but also portions of Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay. 

1 comment:

  1. Spectacular. In that last photo, I can imagine replacing the bill with a normal little bird beak. He would look more or less average. The bill is a game changer.