Yellow Throated Toucan – Ramphastos ambiguus | Complete Facts & Everything about it:

To a layman’s eyes, every toucan looks similar- huge bills, a colorful body, a shrill voice, and hopping here and there. But this bird has approximately 40 species which, even though they differ very slightly, differ whatsoever. 

Identify backyard birds of Massachu...
Identify backyard birds of Massachusetts!

One such species is the yellow-throated toucan. It is a beautiful bird that is often seen on TV. So, are you ready to know more about this one?

What Is A Yellow-Throated Toucan?

 Yellow-throated toucan is a species of the bird toucan. It is mostly known for its colorful bill and large body. It has bright black eyes and it is the most commonly seen bird on TV and a general example of a toucan.

How To Identify A Yellow-Throated Toucan?

Yellow-throated toucan is easy to identify. They are greatly known for their bicolored bill. The upper bill is yellow and chestnut and the lower bill is completely chestnut colored. 

The bill is quite curved at the tip. It has a yellow throat and a large body. It is one of the largest birds of the toucan species.

Their body is black except for their face, throat, under tail coverts, and breasts. Since they are monomorphic birds, the visual characteristics of both the males and females are the same. 

Their face and throat are a bright yellow. The crown of the head is black. The breast and upper back have a reddish hint and under tail coverts are also red. Their upper tail coverts are white.

Among a group of toucans, you can easily spot a yellow-throated one.

History, Scientific Name, And Origin Of Yellow-Throated Toucan

The history and origin of toucans are not clearly known. No fossil remains have been found to suggest their origin. 

J. Haffer came up with a theory for the origin of toucans. As per his study, toucans are the birds which adapted themselves during interglaciations, i.e. tropical forest expansions. 

The birds had no choice but to adapt, so they adapted to humid, tropical rainforests and have inhabited them since then.

The scientific name of the yellow-throated toucan is Ramphastos Ambiguus. They belong to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Aves, and order Piciformes.

How To Identify The Gender Of The Yellow-Throated Toucan?

Yellow-throated toucans are monomorphic birds, i.e. the male and female do not differ much in appearance. 

A DNA test is the best way to find their gender. Also, the female has a shorter bill as compared to the male. As per Short and Horne, 2001, it’s blockier.

Yellow Throated Toucan Flying And Range

Due to their large size, they are not very good flyers. They are hoppers. They fly slowly with rapid wingbeats. 

Instead of flying, they love to rest in the trees. As they live in rainforests, they are better equipped to hopping and eat fruits than fly huge ranges.

How Big Is A Yellow-Throated Toucan?

A yellow-throated toucan is a large bird that sizes up to 24 inches. Its average size ranges from 18.5-24 inches. 

The short wing measures approx. 8-9.75 inches, bill measures approx. 5.1-7.9 inches, the tarsus is 2-2.3 inches, and the tail is approx. 5.7-6.9 inches.

How Much Does A Yellow-Throated Toucan Weigh?

The males weigh approx. 620-750 grams, while females weigh approx. 600 grams.

What Does A Yellow-Throated Toucan Sound Like?

The sound of a yellow-throated toucan varies depending on its reason for calling. But it usually starts with a long high-pitched yelp, followed by shorter and several yelps. 

Their voice has a far-reaching sound. Their call is often referred to as “Dios te de te de” which is Spanish. 

It translates into “God give you”. These toucans reside in large and tall trees of the rainforests and their shrill voice can be heard in a large area.

How Long Does A Yellow-Throated Toucan Live?

These toucans have a lifespan of 15-20 years.   

Habitat, Nesting, and Migration Of yellow Throated Toucan

Yellow-throated toucans are residents of Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Central and South America, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, and surrounding areas. 

They usually prefer forest lands, and lowland forests, and also sometimes visit banana and peach palm trees, but don’t go elsewhere and are not interested in flying much distance.

It also answers the question that yellow-throated toucans don’t migrate. They don’t leave their native regions.

Also, they are not excavators. Their bills are not designed for such purposes. They find cavities, or abandoned nests in trees and establish their home there. 

Also, they find high trees, possibly canopied areas to make a home in, so that predators like snakes and hawks find it hard to get in.

The behavior of Yellow-Throated Toucan

Yellow-throated toucans are social birds and usually forage in a group of 12-15 toucans. They like to gather around fruit-bearing trees and often fight among themselves for the fruits. 

Most of their time is spent preening, resting, calling, foraging, and hopping around. 

During mating, pairs can often be seen together, preening each other. One of the unique traits of toucans is that they sleep with their tails bent over their heads.

They are large and dominant birds. They display aggressive behavior when smaller species visit their fruit-bearing trees and often ward them away. They are also seen rubbing their face against the tree trunks, possibly to deal with skin problems.

During mating, toucans choose a tree and reside there with their mate. The male also chooses a fruit-bearing tree and gives it to the female. 

Only she is allowed to eat from that tree and the male wars off any other birds. They also follow other smaller birds and make their habitat there, displacing them.

It is also said that they pluck a fruit, pinch their bill’s crooked head in it and then put it in their mouth. Their large size also helps them to ward off predators quite easily.

Breeding And Egg Laying Of Yellow-Throated Toucan

The yellow-throated toucan’s breeding period differs according to its habitat. Say, In Costa Rica- it starts in March and ends in June. 

In Ecuador, it ranges from December-May. In Panama and Colombia, it ranges between January and July.

Both the birds start preparing their nest. They clean the cavity and lay down small wooden chips in it, then cover it with leaves. 

Fruit pits and seeds also find their way into the nest and complete it.

The female lays 2-3 shiny, white eggs. The birds are born blind with pink skin and negligible bills. It takes them 45 days to fledge. 

The responsibility of raising the kids lies on both the parents, as they both incubate the eggs, feed the kids once they are born, and clean the nest.

Diet Of Yellow-Throated Toucan

Like other toucans, yellow-throated toucans are also frugivores, i.e., their major diet consists of fruits. 

The native fruits of the neotropical forests like Virola Sebifera, Casearia corymbose, Protium, Trophies, etc. are some of the major fruit-bearing plants which yellow-throated toucans love. 

Apart from these, toucans will also occasionally munch on insects and small lizards, frogs, eggs of other birds, termites, etc.  Juvenile toucans are more interested in trying crunchy live insects.

Most adults mostly prefer a more fruity diet. Since they live among high trees, they easily find fruits. They have zygodactyl feet, which makes it easier to grip a branch and pick up a fruit.

Who Feeds On Yellow Throated Toucans?

These large birds find it easier to ward off any predatory threats. Due to their large size, almost no predators prey on them. If a hawk tries, its long bill can cause enough damage.

Why Is Yellow-Throated Toucan Endangered?

The bird is facing dire consequences in some areas due to heavy deforestation, especially in Central and South America. 

In Ecuador as well, deforestation is causing these birds to move to lowland areas, but it is not easy for them. They are not great flyers and covering several miles to go somewhere else is not something this beautiful bird can do.  

Human activity and their love for hunting are also a major threat to them. When they move to lowland areas, it becomes difficult for humans, even with their large bills.

So, they are near threatened and if humans keep clearing forests, then these toucans will face a major threat.

Are Yellow Throated Toucans Good Pets?

These birds are highly social and highly vocal. Their shrill voice goes several paces and even beyond. So, if your neighbors won’t mind these birds, you can bring them home. 

Check your local laws first, whether toucans are allowed as pets or not. Also, they need a large aviary as they are quite large and need some space to roam around. You also need to find a vet who can vaccinate them and treat them.

Apart from these, it’s better if you bring home a juvenile toucan, so it will be easier to teach him things. They are social birds and won’t mind a human owner or their disturbance.

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