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Keel-billed Toucan
Background information
Taxonomy Birds
Status Least Concern
Range Central and South America
Habitat Rainforest
Feathers, fur Black Body
Yellow Throat
Yellow Green Beak
Brown Beak Tip

The Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), also known as a Sulfur-breasted Toucan, or a Rainbow-billed Toucan, is a colorful type of toucan, native to Central and South America. It is the national bird of Belize. Eva, a supporting character in Rio and Rio 2, is a Keel-billed Toucan. There was also a group of Keel billed toucans swinging on ropes hanging from the trees at the end of the movie, during "Real in Rio".


The Keel-billed toucan's total body length (including its bill) ranges from 42 to 55 cm. The plumage is mainly black with a yellow neck and chest. It has blue feet and red feathers under the tip of its tail. The bill is mainly green with a red tip and orange on both sides. Its size can grow up to one-third of it's whole body.

Distribution and Habitat

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A Keel-billed Toucan popping out of his nesting hole.

The Keel-billed toucan is a native species of South American jungles, where it lives in holes in the trees as part of a flock. The Keel-billed toucan sleeps with its beak and tail tucked under their body, ensuring that there is enough room for others too. They're mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical rain forest from southern Mexico to Venezuela and Colombia. The species is not found in Brazil, despite what the movies may suggest.

Keel-billed Toucan Distribution


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A pair of Keel-billed Toucan (This photo was taken by Chris Rose).

The Keel-billed toucan is an extremely sociable bird and rarely stay on it's own. As well as nesting together, they travel in small flock ranging from 6 to 15 individuals. Despite its flying ability, the Keel-billed toucan does most of its moving by hopping between tree branches.



A Keel-billed Toucan feeding on papaya fruit.

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A Keel-billed toucan holding a cricket in its mouth

The Keel-billed toucan primarily feeds on varieties of fruit and berries. It consumes its food by grasping it with their bill and quickly flipping it up into the air and catching it in their mouth. However, due to the surprising dexterity of their bill, they also feed on bird eggs, insects, lizards and tree frogs in the absence of fruits.


A female Keel-billed toucan lays between 1 and 5 eggs per one brood in a hollow tree. The eggs usually hatches within a few weeks. Both parents are responsible for the egg's incubation and feeding their chicks until they're old enough to depend on themselves.


The keel-billed toucan is sometimes kept in captivity, but it requires a high-fruit diet and is sensitive to hemochromatosis (an iron storage disease).


Able to utilize human-altered habitat to some extent, this widespread bird is considered to be a Species of Least Concern by the IUCN. However, they are still threatened by hunting for their meat and beaks, and toucan populations are on a decreasing trend.