White throated Toucan


Ramphastos tucanus
White-throated Toucan

Order: Piciformes
Family: Ramphastidae

Rio Cristalino, Alta Floresta, MT, Brasil; 12 October 2010 © Joao Quental

The loud, yelping calls of the White-throated Toucan are one of the most characteristic sounds of humid lowland forest in Amazonia, and can carry for a long distance. White-throated Toucans deliver their call with remarkable gusto, often jerking the bill and the tail upward with each yelp; these calls may be given in a duet, the calls of the female being at a higher pitch than those to the male. The toucans forage in forest canopy, and also enter adjacent tall second growth. The diet is typical of Ramphastos toucans: a mix of fruit, large arthropods, and small vertebrates (such as lizards, and the nestlings and eggs of smaller birds). The sexes are similar in appearance, but male is larger, with a bill that is even longer, relative to body size, than the bill of the female. The distribution of the White-throated Toucan completely overlaps that of a smaller species of toucan, the Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus). In eastern Amazonia, these two species differ in the color of the breast and of the bill, but in western Amazonia the color patterns of the two species are almost identical. The smaller species is a member of the “croaking” group of toucans, with very different, frog-like vocalizations, and has a relatively smaller bill.