Though the Toucan is most known as a creature of the jungles, this unique and colorful species inhabits high Andean landscapes. Have you spotted one lately?
Toucans are distinguished by the disproportionate size of their wide beak, as it often exceeds half the size of their body. It’s hollow and serrated edges allow it to easily hold the fruits of which it feeds. Its wings are short and rounded. Its long tail folds back, supporting it while it sleeps. The Hooded Mountain Toucan’s has four long fingers, two of which are pointed forward and two point backward. The male and female are similar in color and size. The tall toucan is endowed with plumage of blue and brown tones, very different from that of its colorful hatchlings. The full grown bird’s colors harmonize perfectly with the bleak landscape of the paramo forests.
It is an extremely shy and silent species. It flys high and slowly while making many weaving patterns through the air. They are exclusively arboreal species and are found only in the high altitude forests of the Andean slopes. They form small flocks composed of a dozen individuals. They like to take freshwater baths, for which they use the small puddles that form in the forks of trees. They feed on small fruits and berries that they swallow whole. This makes toucans excellent dispersers of the plant seeds that it consumes. By swallowing the seeds whole and then removing them in different places they favor the growth of new plants. They also feed on the eggs of other birds and insects, such as spiders, large antes and, occasionally, small reptiles. They nest in tree watermakers, usually in nested nests of woodpeckers. The female lays 2-4 eggs which both parents incubate.
There are 41 different species of toucans in the world. Of these, nineteen have been registered in Peru. The tall toucan is a very rare species with solitary habits. However, due to the inaccessibility of the forests where they live, their populations are safe.
Range of Distribution
The tall tucan finds refuge in the humid mountain forests of the high Andeans It is distributed along the Andes mountain range from southern Colombia to southern Peru, at elevations ranging between 2,000 meters and 3,400 meters.
Source: Guia de Identificacion de Especies de la Flora y la Fauna del Peru
Cover photo: Wikimedia