Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan aka. Sulfur-breasted Toucan aka. Rainbow-billed Toucan
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Member of the Toucan Family
§A Rookery of Toucans§

National Bird of Belize

~true bird fact~ So what's the deal with the way this bird looks? Well, he's got a very specific environmental niche and he's basically built from head to toe to take advantage of it. Toucans are jungle birds and as such are built to fly only short distances (hence their short wings), spend a lot of time in trees (they have two toes facing backward and two facing forward, an uncommon adaptation known as zyglodactylic feet), and eat lots of fruit (that bill). It's about as long as the rest of his whole body and it gives him an advantage in reaching into the hollows of trees as well as plucking hard to get fruit. But that's not all! It's much, much lighter than it looks and extremely strong. Toucans use it for social play (mock dueling and throwing fruit to one another). Because of the unusual porous structure of the keratin that makes up the bill, it's also good for regulating body temperatures. Also, it's not a 'nose' and toucans don't 'follow' it to 'fruit loops'.

A really good friend. You want to be better friends with him right away because he seems like such a great guy
Can always find a new way to look at something
Questionable taste in women
That whole bill thing might be fake

PSA- In keeping with the integrity of this blog, I will point out that this guy was spotted not in the wild, but (clearly) in an animal shelter. Therefor he 'does not count' for birding purposes. Still, I think he's cool enough that he's worth bringing to you, the reader. Love this toucan you guys, cause it's the only one you've got. Don't question a good thing.

Also, he is not a parrot. I screwed up my 'parrot month' thing by posting the first parrot too early. He's kinda on theme still, I think.

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