A species of the Ramphastidae family, the citron-throated toucan, with its mesmerizing beauty and unique features, grabs the eyeballs of any avid bird lover.
Here we unravel all the interesting facts and features of this unique bird of the neotropics. Stay hooked!
What is a Citron Throated Toucan? How to Identify?
The citron-throated toucan is a fascinating bird native to north-western Venezuela and northern Columbia. The bird is identified by its bright yellow throat and breast, which has an extremely slim red breast band.
Citron-throated toucan is often confused with Channel-billed toucan, Yellow-ridged toucan, and the Ariel toucan as their coloration, including that of thighs, wings, and tail, are almost similar.
Nevertheless, they are distinguished by different colors of the remaining plumage, size, bill color, pattern, etc.
History, Scientific Name & Origin of Citron Throated Toucan
Scientific Name and Taxonomy
Scientifically, the Citron-throated toucan is called Ramphastos citreolaemus and is a bird species of the Ramphastidae family.
Its scientific name has also been changed to Ramphastos vitellinus citreolaemus.
Initially, it was classified as a subspecies of the Channel-billed toucan. Many experts continue with the same belief.
Another stream of thought believes the bird to be a subspecies of the white-throated toucan.
The bird originated in North America and habituated in the humid lowlands and woodlands of northern Columbia and north-western Venezuela.
The bird was first discovered by the English orthinologist John Gould in 1844.
Appearance, Characteristics, and Behavior of Citron-Throated Toucan
The bird is about 48-56 cm or 19-22 inches long. As with toucans, it also has a long bill of about 5.5 inches or 14 cm. The bird can weigh up to one pound or 0.45 kg. The size of the female is slightly smaller than the male.
The citron-throated toucan got its name due to its bright yellow feathered throat and breast. Its breast has an additional extremely slim red breast band. The bird is also characterized and identified by this feature.
The other major body parts of the bird, i.e., the upper parts, belly, wings, and tail, are black. However, its tail has accents of yellow and red feathers.
The citron-throated toucan has a slightly pale blue iris.
The bird has white ear tufts. While its bill is deep black, it has a somewhat greenish center with a pale-yellow ridge. The bill’s base is blue with a yellow-orange patch near the head.
The bird is also distinguished by its feather-like long tongue that has bristles on each side. The tongue helps the birds catch, taste, and even push the food down its throat.
The citron-throated toucans are non-migratory birds that can be spotted alone or in pairs. They also co-exist in small groups.
Occasionally, they join other bird species or even other toucan species to find and eat food.
They show all characteristics and behavior typical of toucans, like two toes pointing backward and two forward, resting their tail on their back, folding the tail across the back, etc.
How Big is a Citron Throated Toucan?
Compared to other toucans, the citron-throated toucan is smaller in size.
How To Identify the Gender of Citron Throated Toucan?
It is difficult to identify the gender of the citron-throated toucan as they do not showcase any sexual dimorphism.
But male toucans are generally longer than females. Females have a shorter beak comparatively that is also deeper and somewhat straighter to ooze a ‘blocky vibe.’
Citron- Throated Toucan Flying & Range
Due to their oddly shaped body with excessively large beaks, toucans are poor flyers.
They fly only for extremely short distances and prefer to hop and walk. Their specialized toes help them grip the branches better and move about.
Citron Throated Toucan Habitat, Nesting & Migration | Where Do They Live?
These birds live mostly in the holes of trees to protect themselves from predators. They build their nests while laying eggs.
These birds are non-migratory and live in the same habitat. They might move short distances and in groups in the lowland in search of food.
What Does a Citron Throated Toucan Sound Like?
The citron-throated toucans tend to croak like a frog. Due to this, they are classified as the ‘croaking’ group of toucans.
As with other toucans, even the citron-throated are quite vocal and make different sounds to communicate. If they sensed any danger, they croak incessantly to warn the flock of the same.
Citron Throated Toucan Diet/ What Does Citron Throated Toucan Eat?
Like all toucans, the citron-throated toucan is also primarily frugivorous and opportunistically omnivorous.
They would eat all types of fruits available in the forest. If fruits are unavailable, they would then hunt and feed on small insects, lizards, etc.
They would use their beaks to dig deep into tree holes and wean out insects to eat. These are often inaccessible to other birds.
They would also readily plunder the nests of small birds for eggs and nestlings. The meat forms an important protein source for them.
While adult toucans thrive mainly on fruits, they prefer feeding animal food to their youngling chicks.
Citron Throated Toucan Food Chain: What Are the Predators of Citron Throated Toucans?
The toucans primarily eat fruits and help in their seed dispersal for new trees to propagate. By feeding insects that reside deep inside the trees, they function as scavengers and help the tree remain healthy.
Likewise, they easily fall prey to predators like wild eagles, hawks, owls, jaguars, boas, margays, etc. Most predator birds would invade their nests and make a prey of them.
What Is Citron Throated Toucan Good For?
The toucan is primarily a wild bird. But it is intelligent and social, making them great as pets and exhibition birds.
However, keeping them as pets is an expensive affair. It is also time-consuming as they need much more care and continual vet supervision to remain hale and hearty.
Their food is also much more expensive than other birds. Moreover, they need a much larger cage space to live and thrive happily.
How Long Do Citron Throated Toucan Live? Citron Throated Toucan Lifespan
The citron-throated toucans have a long lifespan and can live for anything between 12 to 20 years.
Egg-laying & Breeding of Citron Throated Toucans
As with toucans, the citron-throated toucan exhibits an interesting way of reproduction.
As a mating ritual, the toucans would preen and make vocal sounds. Apart from this, they would also throw fruits like berries at each other.
Both males and females try to catch the fruit with their beaks and throw it at each other.
For nesting, they choose hollow areas of the tree that are quite high on trees. It is primarily to protect their nest.
Additionally, their beak is not strong enough to dig holes. Hence, they occupy holes that have been pre-formed by other means.
After mating, the female would lay two to four shiny eggs in unlined nests.
Both parents share the incubation duties as well as raising and feeding the babies till 8 weeks. But the eggs are mostly uncovered since no parent sits on eggs for more than an hour.
The eggs hatch after 16-18 days, from which the altricial chicks come out. Their eyes open and feathers expand after three to four weeks. During this time, both parents feed fruits and animal protein to the babies.
After eight weeks, the babies become independent when the development of their beaks and fledging happens.
In captivity, they need plenty of care. Despite this, the incubation rate can be as low as 30%.
Why is The Citron Throated Toucans Endangered?
The citron-throated population is declining of late. They are being captured as pets and as show birds. If not looked after properly as pets, they can easily die.
Their natural habitats are also fast dwindling. Due to all these, the citron-throated toucans are getting endangered species.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the amazing citron-throated toucans. They are drool-worthy birds who must be preserved and allowed to thrive at all costs.