How to find a toucan

Really all you need to do is listen for the sound of frogs croaking, and most likely it’s a toucan, not a frog.  We haven’t heard any frogs at all (maybe it’s not the breeding season for them).  After three days here tromping around the rain forest and everyone telling me how many toucans they had seen, I finally figured out how to find them.  The photogenic subject below was chirping away while sitting in the top of a tree, and then flew right down in front of me to feed on these palm fruits.

They are so agile manipulating tiny fruits with that great big mandible, plucking each fruit daintily off the stem and tossing their head back to sort of throw the fruit into their mouth.  However, the bill is sharp enough on its edge to dissect off pieces from a larger fruit.  The bill is about one-third of their total body length, but is surprisingly light-weight because it is just hollow keratinzed bone.

This is a Keel-billed Toucan, although I hear people refer to it as the rainbow Toucan because of the colorful bill.  In addition to its colorful head and chest plumage, it has red feathers on its belly and blue feet.  I can’t imagine how natural selection produced this amazing creature.

Here’s a YouTube video that illustrates the feeding process I was trying to describe above  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjNo0UQBes0).  The vocalization is not typical of the Keel-billed Toucan though.

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