Toucans and Toucanets – General

General Characteristics

There are approximately 35 (or more) species of toucans and toucanets, including the smaller, slender aracari. They all belong to the family of birds called Ramphastidae and are found in Central and South America. Their most outstanding feature is the large, elongated, hollow beak that varies in coloration from black to multicolored. They are not commonly found in the pet trade industry. Commonly kept species are the toco toucan and the sulfur-breasted or keel-billed toucan.

Hand-raised babies that are well-socialized make charming affectionate pets, whereas wild toucans are very challenging to tame. They require a large horizontal cage with lots of perches, as they are very active, curious, and enjoy hopping from perch to perch. Their bill is both powerful and gentle. These birds will entertain themselves by throwing and catching toys and food at the end of their beaks with the greatest of ease.

"Toucans eat a large volume of moist food and are rather messy birds."

Toucans eat a large volume of moist food and are rather messy birds. They have frequent, loose, and often projectile droppings that may render them less than desirable pets. They do not talk or sing and are only vocal when they want attention or are hungry. They have a pleasant rattle-like tremolo when happy or content. They can be aggressive with other birds and are known to occasionally kill and eat smaller species, like canaries and finches.

Purchasing Toucans and Toucanets

Toucans and toucanets may be purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. When selecting a toucan or toucanet, try to choose a young bird, as it may be easier to tame and train. Older, wild, colony or parent-raised birds may prove difficult to tame. Hand-raised babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt readily to new environments and situations. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (young and old people, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the veterinarian, etc.) to help promote a calm, well-adjusted pet.

A lively, alert bird that is not easily frightened is more likely a healthy bird. After purchasing your new bird, have it examined by an avian veterinarian familiar with these species of birds.

Veterinary Care

Toucans and toucanets require regular, routine veterinary health check-ups. Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, grooming (nail and/or feather trim as necessary), and laboratory tests as needed. During these semi-annual check-ups, health, nutritional, and maintenance issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary check-ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

"Veterinary check-ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird."

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