Black-mandibled Toucans (Ramphastos ambiguus)
The Black-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus) can be found in the north of South America.
They occur along the eastern slope of the Andes from Peru, north through Ecuador and Colombia, to Venezuela as far as the coastal ranges.
They occur at altitudes of 100-2400 m - in humid montane forests, with a preference for the canopy and edge.
Toucans have distinctive coloration, markings, and are particularly noted for their large colorful bills.
The Black-mandibled Toucan's bill measures 47 to 61 cm in length. Its bill is about 18 cm long.
Breeding / Nesting
The mating ritual is a fun-loving affair for toucans, as they throw fruit to one another.
Like all of their other activities, nesting happens high up in hollow areas in trees. The bill is not effective for digging or any other type of extensive excavation work and so they must rely on holes already formed by other means.
The nests are not lined, but the two to four shiny white eggs that are laid each year rest on a few wood chips created while enlarging the opening or on various kinds of regurgitated seeds collected for this purpose. Parents share equally in incubation duties, but rarely sit on the nest for more than an hour at a time and the eggs are often left uncovered. Both parents share in feeding fruit to the babies for up to 8 weeks.
After 16 days the nestlings are born blind, with no trace of down on their pink skin. The bill is unremarkable until about 16 days old when it takes on the distinguishing features of the toucan, and requires up to four months to develop fully. Feathers begin to expand at 4 weeks.
Babies have pads on their elbows that protect their feet by keeping them elevated until they fledge.
Breeding in captivity requires attention to a number of details. Even successful breeders report rates as low as 30% for the incubation of eggs.
Toucan Trivia: Interesting Facts
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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