Monday, November 9, 2009

Toucan Facts, Toucan Habitat and Toucan Conservation

Toucan Facts
Toucans are best know for being the mascot of Fruit Loops, but there is so much more to these wonderful birds. For starters, there are 42 toucan species ! That's a lot of different toucans!

Toucan's bills are more than half the length of their bodies but are actually quite light. They're made of keratin, the same material your finger nails are made out of. New research shows that their large beaks may actually help them cool off, just like sweating helps us cool off. Wouldn't you rather have a cool beak than sweaty armpits to help cool you off? Source: BBC News Hot Secret Behind Toucan's Bill

The toucan also has an unusual tongue, it is similar to a feather which it uses to catch food, then flick down its throat.  Can you imagine having a tongue that was like a feather?  Another interesting fact about toucans.

Perhaps what the most interesting toucan fact it that they're poor fliers and usually hop everywhere they go rather than fly. Who knew that tropical birds living in the rain forest could be poor fliers? Source: Animal Bytes: Toco Toucan. Listen to a toucan!

Why Toucans Need Our Help
Toucans are close to being a threatened species, with one species listed as endangered. Habitat loss due to logging and agriculture are threatening them as toucans require an undisturbed forest. Toucans do not like to fly in open spaces so roads and clearing are also threatening this delicate species. Source: Toucans: Ramphastidae - Conservation Status. Toucans are also victims of the pet trade since they are so colourful.

Toucan Conservation
Toco Toucan photo courtesy of: Andras Jancsik