by Jonathan
(South Africa)

Can toucans survive in a non-tropical environment

Comments for toucans

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May 26, 2010
Toucans in captivity
by: The Avian Vet


Dr B

May 24, 2010
by: Linda

Yes and No on this one, Jonathan. Toucans originate from the rain forests of South America though many species are already extinct from all the logging done there.

Toucans are very private birds who wish to be left alone by other birds and even other Toucans for that matter. It has always been almost impossible to get data about their breeding habits because of this privacy issue. They nest very high up, and will move if disturbed, so Aviculturists have been trying since the 20's to get the data on wild Toucan mating and breeding.

One thing I do know about them because I had one, is they DO NOT MAKE the best of pets. They are wild and have very specialized nutritional needs as well as each Toucan needs an extremely large flight whether kept inside or outside. Ours had an 8 foot square flight inside a store we had in the 70's, and this was not nearly enough flying room for her. They are extremely messy in that their digestion is quick and the feces is liquidy and tends to get all over walls, floors and anything in or around cages.They require daily scrubbing down just to be able to go in and feed and water them.

So, if thinking of a Toucan for a pet, they are too wild for that. Julia was a sweet bird for the most part, but they have serrated bills with a point on the end an will not hesitate to pound you in top of the head. They also like to grab skin and start twisting. They are very nervous birds who need a quiet place to live. As for putting a pair together, it is possible and likely that one will kill the other. In the wild, they usually meet, mate, and the male goes on his way leaving the female to lay eggs and raise babies. So keeping two of them together will require a zoo-sized aviary, and I mean immense in size width, length and height.

I loved my little Julia, but did learn that she was not so comfortable with us as I had wished. This was back when they were still importing birds from the wild into the US, and they no longer do that which is a wonderful thing!She died later from Salmonella poisoning from eating a piece of fruit I missed when cleaning up one day. My recommendation is not to try to keep these birds for pets. Zoos across the world have them set up in huge aviaries for breeding purposes since so many are extinct in the wild.

Thanks for writing,

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