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Keel-billed Toucan – Reflections of the Natural World

  • Scientific Name: Ramphastos sulfuratus
  • Name in Spanish (Mexico): Tucán Pico Canoa
  • ABA 4-Letter Bird Code: KBTO
  • Family: Ramphastidae
  • Order: Piciformes

About this Bird

The Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), National Bird of Belize, is a colorful bird species found in Belize and other parts of Central and South America.

They are known for their large, curved beaks that are brightly colored in green, blue, orange, and red. In Belize, the Keel-billed Toucan is a common sight in the forests and jungles, especially in the Maya Mountains and other areas with dense vegetation.

Keel-billed Toucan Image © Jim Gain

Keel-billed Toucans are omnivorous and eat a variety of fruits, insects, and small animals. They are also known to use their beaks to reach into tree cavities to extract eggs and nestlings of other bird species. In Belize, they play an important ecological role as seed dispersers for many tree species, helping to maintain the forest ecosystem.

Keel-billed Toucan Image © Jim Gain

The breeding season for Keel-billed Toucans in Belize typically runs from February to May. They lay their eggs in tree cavities, which they excavate themselves or take over from other birds. The females lay 2-4 eggs, which both parents incubate for around 16-18 days. The chicks are born naked and blind, and rely on their parents for food and protection until they fledge at around 7-8 weeks of age. Overall, the Keel-billed Toucan is a fascinating and important species in the natural history of Belize, and its conservation is crucial for maintaining the health of the country’s forests and ecosystems.

Keel-billed Toucan Image © Jim Gain

IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Keel-billed Toucans are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red list because they occupy such a large habitat range, however numbers are declining and they are threatened by deforestation and habitat loss. Many species of toucan are captured from the wild and sold as popular pets due to their bright coloured bills and keen intelligence. Finally these beautiful individuals are also hunted for food and their bills taken as trophies.

>> Next Post on Tuesday, 3/21/2023 – Plain Chachalaca

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