Keel Billed Toucan – Habitat | Ramphastos Sulfuratus – Complete and Interesting Fun Facts:

The keel-billed toucan is a type of toucan mostly found in rainforests in South America and Central America. 

These birds are known for their large bill, colorful feathers, intelligence, and loud voice. 

One of these toucans is a species named Ramphastos Sulfuratus, also known as the Sulfur-breasted toucan. 

Blue –lined sea bream Symphoric...
Blue –lined sea bream Symphorichthys spilurus

Whether you’re a birdwatcher or just stepping into ornithology, there are a plethora of things to know about keel-billed toucan. Scroll down to have a look.

What Is A Keel Billed Toucan?

A keel-billed toucan is a bird that is known for its rainbow peak. 

It has green, yellow, blue, orange, a little mauve, and a red tip at the end of its bill. They are called sulfur-breasted toucans due to the yellow mark on their breasts. 

The scientific name of the Keel-billed Toucan is Ramphastos Sulfuratus. It is a Latin American bird and is a national bird of Belize.  

How Did A Keel Billed Toucan Get Its Name?

A keel billed toucan is also called a rainbow toucan or sulfur-breasted toucan. Its chest is bright yellow. That’s why it is called sulfur-breasted. 

Also, its scientific name,  Ramphastos Sulfuratus, means the large yellow beak for which it is known. 

It is called rainbow toucan because its bill has several different colors. Its appearance has caused it to be named a keel billed toucan.

Keel Billed Toucan- Flying And Range

Toucans are not great flyers. They live in tropical forests at a great height. They keep hopping from one branch to another branch and get enough food for themselves and their kids. 

They don’t need to go out much, and thus, flying is of not much importance to them. Their top flying speed is 39mph. 

Many people think they don’t fly much due to their large bills, but that’s not true. Their bill is a lightweight, keratin body that looks bigger but doesn’t hinder their flying. 

Keel-Billed Toucan: Classification, History, Origin, and Scientific Name

The toucan belongs to the Kingdom Animalia, class Aves, order Piciformes, and family Ramphastidae. 

The keel-billed toucan’s scientific name is Ramphastos Sulfuratus.

There isn’t much known about the history of Toucans or Keel-billed toucans, but these birds can be found in ancient drawings and pictures. 

In 1929, Van Tyne conducted some research on the breeding of Keel-Billed toucans, but it could not be completed. 

How To Identify The Gender Of THe Keel-Billed Toucan?

Some toucan species have sexual dimorphism, i.e., they look different, and their sex can be judged based on appearance. 

But Keel-billed toucan is a monomorphic species, making it difficult to identify the gender of the bird. 

Beak measurement is one such method. A study was carried out on various birds. 

The birds were sexually mature, and their beaks were measured. It was observed that the upper beak of keel-billed toucan females is smaller than the male. 

The same goes for the lower beak, as both upper and lower beaks were measured. 

So, it can be said that the size of their beaks can identify females, but it is not possible to identify them so easily. 

It’s a process that involves catching the bird and measuring its beak after ascertaining whether the bird is mature or not and whether you have caught male and female birds or not. 

The weights of the beaks of both males and females are the same.

What Does A Keel-Billed Toucan Sound Like?

Toucans are very loud. A keel-billed toucan is also a very noisy bird whose shrill voice can reach nearly a half-mile. 

It makes a frog-like sound a series of six or seven times. It crees and cras and cries again. Their caw-caw is quite famous. It’s head and tail jerk up as it makes these sounds. 

The reasons and types of these sounds can be different. Usually, to call each other, they make simple noises. 

During breeding, these sounds increase. They also make quite some noise during molting. The calls of a baby toucan are more like a whining sound. 

How Long Do Keel-Billed Toucans Live?

Toucans have an average life of 15-20 years. Like other toucans, keel-billed toucans also live approx. 15-20 years.

Keel-Billed Toucan Habitat

Keel-Billed toucans can be found in damp areas. They can be seen in lowland forests, near rivers, streams, rainforests, growth woodland, etc. 

They are found in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Costa Rica. They like to live in places that are dense and humid. 

Keel-Billed Toucan Nesting And Migration

Toucans do not migrate, so keel-billed toucans also do not migrate. They live in their area and breed there. They make nests in high trees, i.e., at least 20 feet above the ground. 

Keel-billed toucans not only nest for kids, but they make a home for roosting. They use other birds’ discarded nests and make their abode there. 

In rainforests, their common roasting places are found in trees like Cupania, Hura, Inga, etc.  

Keel-Billed Toucan Behavior, Characteristics, and Appearance


Keel-billed toucans spend most of their time foraging and perching. They are social birds and spend most of their time together. 

A flock of 8-10 toucans fly together and surround a tree. They sit on its thick branches and pluck fruit together. It is called foraging. 

Its beaks are used for mating purposes. They use it during the breeding season to attract females. 

They also share their food with females and give them fruits to attract them. Male toucans also sing for female birds.


The keel-billed toucan is a monomorphic bird, i.e., both sexes have similar colors. They have black heads and necks, which dull down to dark maroon. 

They can also be called sulfur-breasted toucans, with a bright yellow throat and chest with a yellow dot near their eye. 

The upper-tail coverts are white, and the wings are greenish-black. The under tail feathers are red, and the rest of the body is mostly black.

How Much Do Keel-Billed Toucans Weigh?

The weight of male and female keel-billed toucans varies slightly.

The males are approx. Four hundred thirty-three grams and females are 400 grams.

Keel-Billed Toucan Breeding

Keel-billed toucans have a long breeding season. The period starts from March and lasts until July, depending on their living areas. They start nesting 6 weeks before laying the eggs. 

It’s because toucans have a heavy population. These birds don’t make nests but find existing cavities in trees, which are scarce. 

The keel-billed toucans clean their place and decorate it. They place leaves on the grounds and fewer wooden chips. 

The toucan nests also contain lots of seeds and pits. Toucans remove the pits and seeds from fruits before eating. 

The male and female spend quite some of their time in the nest for incubation and dine there. Thus, the nest also contains lots of seeds and fruit pits. 

The female lays 1-4 eggs. These eggs are white and shiny and are approx. 1.5 inches in size.

Toucans don’t sit on their eggs all day. 

The incubation period lasts only one to two hours. The reason is that they live in tropical areas, and heat might cook the eggs due to excess incubation.

The total incubation period is 16-20 days. Both parents undertake the responsibility of feeding the babies. 

The baby birds are not identifiable at all. They have a larger lower beak and a slightly smaller upper beak. 

They keep making a buzzing sound. Their tail feathers start growing after 10 days. The wing feathers start emerging after 15 days. 

The juvenile toucans don’t open their eyes for 17 days. They are tightly shit since birth, and the babies depend on their parents. 

At the age of a month, all their feathers fully grow, and they open their eyes and start flailing their wings. At the age of 45 days, the birds fledge.   

Keel-Billed Toucan Food And Diet

Like other toucans, keel-billed toucans are also frugivores and depend mostly on foods for their diet. 

They eat palms, figs, Inga seeds, Cecropia, and any other fruit they might get around their home. 

Though they are frugivores, they don’t shy away from eating insects and other small animals like frogs, lizards, small snakes, and even spiders.  

Most of their time is spent foraging, and they eat approx. 6 small meals a day. 

Predators Of Keel-Billed Toucans

Keel-billed toucans are not entirely safe, especially during the breeding season. Their most notorious predators are hawks.

Are Keel-Billed Toucans Rare And Endangered?

No, they are not rare and can be easily found for their native reasons. 

There is not much information on their conservation status, but these aren’t endangered species and are found abundantly in tropical regions. 

However, their hunting is a cause of concern as these birds are hunted for capturing and selling as pets. 

Can Keel-Billed Toucans Be Pets?

Yes, keel-billed toucans can be kept as pets. The bird is known for its intelligence and playfulness. 

You can keep them in your home, and they will grow into loving pets, allowing you to caress their heads. 

Interesting Facts on Keel-Billed Toucans

There are different sentiments about toucans in different regions. 

In some places, they are considered a symbol of hope, change, or creativity. But in other regions, they are considered a demonic symbol. 

Their drawings are quite popular among tribal people as they consider them to be a form of evil spirit. 


That’s all! Now you know everything about Keel-Billed Toucan. If you’re keeping it as a pet, make sure to maintain a proper diet as mentioned here. Thanks for reading!

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