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Toucans

Species Of Toucans

The largest toucans are those in the genus Ramphastos, which live in lowland, tropical forests. The toco toucan (R. toco) occurs in tropical Amazonian forests, while the chestnut-mandibled toucan (R. swainsonii) occurs from Honduras to Venezuela.

Species of aracari toucans (Pteroglossus spp.) are smaller and relatively gregarious. The green aracari (Pteroglossus viridis) occurs in tropical forests from Venezuela through Brazil.

The toucanets are even smaller. The spot-billed toucanet (Selenidera maculirostris) occurs in forests from Venezuela and Guyana to northern Argentina.

Most species of toucans are less abundant today than they used to be, mostly because of loss of habitat through deforestation. However, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) does not yet list any species as being threatened or endangered.

Resources

Books

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Sick, H. Birds in Brazil: A Natural History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

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Zygodactyl

—The specific arrangement of toes of certain birds, in which two toes point forward, and two backward. This is the characteristic arrangement in the Piciformes, including the toucans.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Thallophyta to ToxicologyToucans - Species of toucans