Animal of the Week: Keel-billed Toucan, Costa Rica


Keel-billed toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)

Great place to see this toucan: Costa Rica, Central America

A dash of vibrant hues against the lovely monotony of forest-green in Costa Rica. That’s the charming keel-billed toucan, also known as the sulfur-breasted toucan and rainbow-billed toucan.

The most striking feature of this bird is its bill, which, although seems large and clumsy, is actually spongy hollow bone covered in the light protein – keratin. Its plumage is largely black with a yellow chest and neck. There are red feathers at the tip of its tail and its feet are blue. Its bright, vibrant bill is chiefly green but with a stunning red tip and orange sides.

This beautiful bird roosts in the canopies of rainforests. It can be found in tropical, subtropical and lowland rainforests from Southern Mexico to Venezuela and Colombia. And like many other toucans, this, too, is a very social avian being.

Because it roosts in holes with many other toucans, the keel-billed toucan is known to tuck its tail and beak under its body to save space while sleeping! This winged wonder, the National Bird of Belize, has zygodactyl feet. It means that the toes face different directions – two toes face forward and two face backward – helping it stay firm on the branches of trees and jump from one branch to another. And for this interesting result of its evolution, this rainbow-billed bird is our Animal of the Week!

See this colourful bird on our Wildlife Photography Tour to Costa Rica!

Categories: Articles, Nature, Photography, Travel
Sourabha Rao

Sourabha is a staff writer at Toehold who dexterously gives verbal form to the inexpressible, and with her passion for travel, weaves immersive stories that transcend space and dissolve time.

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