Toucans are one of the exceptional birds that exist in nature. Their diet and eating preferences are different from other birds. So, what do toucans eat, and what are the foods that toucans like to eat?
Toucans eat various foods, including vegetables, fruits, insects, bird eggs, reptiles, rodents, and many more, as discussed further in this post. Also, the proper way of feeding is discussed below.
Table of Contents:
- What Do Toucans Eat In The Rainforest?
- How Do Toucans Get Their Food?
- What Do Toucans Eat In Captivity?
- Favorite Foods of Toucan
- How To Feed Toucans?
- How often & How much do toucans eat?
- What Can Toucans Not Eat?
- Do Toucans Drink Water?
- How Do Toucans Drink Water?
- Do Toucans Eat Other Birds?
- Can Toucans Eat Bananas?
- Final Words
What Do Toucans Eat In The Rainforest?
Toucans are omnivorous so they can eat both animals and plants. But most of their diet consists of fruits like figs, wild cherries, bananas, apples, and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, etc.
They can eat whole fruit without having any problem as they have large and sharp beaks, so they can easily eat whole fruit.
Along with fruits, toucans also like to eat small reptiles, birds, eggs, and a few insects. They also help in growing new plants and trees.
While eating, sometimes the seeds they consume passes through their digestive system, and when these seeds land, they sprout, and a new plant is grown. In the rainforest, both plants and animals are present, so the diet of toucans in the rainforest is discussed below.
Fruits that toucans can eat are peppers, strawberries, guavas, bananas, oranges, papayas, watermelon, cantaloupe, dragon fruit, blueberries, figs, acai berries, palm fruit, and wild ficus fruit.
They are fond of almost all these fruits. Toucans have long beaks, so they easily reach the fruit on the branches of trees high up in the rainforest.
Their beaks are specially designed for this purpose. Other birds do not easily take fruit from those branches as they are far from them. Seeds in fruits are not digestible for toucans, so they are mostly limited to seedless fruit.
Along with fruits, toucans should also eat vegetables as they can only contain 50 percent fruit and a moderate amount of fresh vegetables. So, the vegetables that toucans eat are chopped carrots.
In rainforests, toucans eat tree frogs and insects like caterpillars, crickets, cicadas, and termites. It is because insects are a very quick and high-protein snack for toucans.
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Reptiles are also considered to be part of the toucan’s diet. They like to eat reptiles usually, lizards.
Some toucans, only the large ones like the Taco Toucan, also eat small rodents like mice, rabbits, muskrats, squirrels, and voles.
Birds & Their Eggs
Toucans do eat the eggs of some birds and the nestling of some small and medium-sized birds. As insects, birds’ eggs are also high in nutrition and are a good addition to the diet of toucans.
How Do Toucans Get Their Food?
Toucans get all their food from nature, like fruits hanging on trees, insects, small reptiles, birds, and bird’s eggs. For getting fruit from branches of high trees, toucans use their beaks.
Their beaks are very large, approximately 19 cm. They use their beaks for plucking the fruit from trees and also use it to peel them off.
To catch insects, small reptiles, frogs, and rodents, toucans use their tongue, which is featherlike and almost of the same length as their beak.
What Do Toucans Eat In Captivity?
Along with insects and rodents, toucans do eat fruits in captivity.
In captivity, toucans mostly eat fruits like bananas, apples, mangoes, grapes, peaches, kiwi, pear, papaya, blueberries, strawberry, melons, ficus (figs), etc.
However, citrus fruit should not be served to toucans as they can cause a disease named hemochromatosis.
It is an iron storage disease in Toucans. Toucans suffer a lot because of this disease, and it also increases the dying percentage of these birds (toucans).
Along with fruits, toucans also eat vegetables in captivity like tomato, corn, cucumber, carrots, pea, chayote, pea, etc.
Favorite Foods of Toucan
Toucans eat a lot of things like some small birds, their eggs, rodents, small reptiles like lizards, some insects, and fruits and berries.
However, their favorite food is fruit and berries, and they can eat fruits in every season in rainforests and captivity. In fruits, they like to eat banana fruit and papaya the most.
Because toucans’ main and favorite diet is fruit, they are also referred to as frugivores by some researchers. Furthermore, toucans mostly like bright-colored fruits as bright colors make it easy to attract them.
Fruit is also their primary diet, and it is very helpful for our ecosystem too as they cannot digest seeds, and they come out of their body as a whole seed.
When these seeds are dropped out anywhere on land, they start to grow up, and in a few days, a new plant is formed. For eating all of these things, their long beaks work the best.
They easily open various tropical fruits having hard shells with their long beak. After removing the fruit from tree branches with the help of their beak, they eat the whole fruit in a go easily.
Large toucans like the Toco toucans love to eat small birds, their eggs, and lizards. If they are not able to find the fruit, they go for insects, small reptiles, rodents, etc., especially the juicy ones like frogs, lizards, snakes, etc. They also go for small birds and their eggs if they see any near them.
How To Feed Toucans?
You can serve high-quality pallets that are low in iron along with fruits, and they need to be fresh. So half of their diet, almost 50 percent of their diet, should be of pellets, and the left half should be of fruits, vegetables, and insects that they can eat.
Fruits that you can feed to toucans include melons, berries, bananas, papayas, grapes, cantaloupes, apples, etc.
Most of the time, you can remove the seeds, and toucans cannot digest them, but yeah, if you will not remove the seeds, then there are chances that new plants can be grown. But make sure the amount is very low as the excess of everything is bad, especially the not digestible food.
Suppose the fruit is very big, then it should be chopped so the Toucan will feed on them easily. Excess of everything is bad, and toucans cannot digest seeds well, so removing them from fruits like melons and papaya is highly recommendable.
Indigestible seeds can cause intestinal problems, which is not good for the health of toucans. While serving fruits or anything to toucans, remember that these fruits and vegetables have some dietary components that can increase iron storage in toucans.
These dietary components are vitamin c, sugar, and ascorbic acid. All these dietary components are present in citrus fruits like oranges, limes, pineapples, grapefruits, and lemons.
The vegetable that is high in citrus is tomatoes, so keep toucans away from them. And suppose somehow, they will eat fruit and vegetables containing these dietary components.
In that case, their liver will start to accumulate a lot of iron, which will cause iron storage disease in toucans.
Although this disease is very common, it is sometimes a very serious and deadly health problem in toucans. You can also not feed them red meat or any other type of meat as they are also high in iron.
You can serve a small amount of finely diced, shredded, and sliced vegetables. Make sure that you are not serving vegetables in large amounts.
You can also serve them softball food, low iron pallets, and a diet low in iron but make sure it should not contain propylene glycol as it can cause serious health problems that can lead to the death of toucans.
While serving food, make sure they are different dishes and never mix them. You can serve food and pellets two times a day.
After serving food, wash them well with warm water to keep them free from harmful bacteria. And in the breeding season, you can serve crickets to toucans, so the increased need for protein is fulfilled.
If you are serving formulated diet to toucans, then never serve supplements of vitamins as an excess of nutrients is also not good for anyone.
How often & How much do toucans eat?
Toucans need constant access to food like fruits, vegetables, insects, etc. They can eat two times a day, sometimes four times a day, and sometimes more than six times a day, but the portions are not that large.
Toucans do not eat a lot at a time in a day. If they eat more than six times, then the portion of food is very small, and if they eat two times a day, they will eat two good portions of food.
What Can Toucans Not Eat?
Toucans cannot eat seeds, fruits, and vegetables high in iron, red meat, or any other type of meat and seeds.
They can also not eat citrus fruits and tomatoes as they can cause iron storage disease in toucans. Never serve avocado to toucans as they are highly toxic for them. You cannot serve avocado to toucans in even a very small amount.
Do Toucans Drink Water?
Toucans get most of their water needs from fruits and vegetables, so they do not drink much water. But freshwater should be available for toucans all the time.
How Do Toucans Drink Water?
Toucans do not drink much water. They usually get water from the fruits they eat, but they also drink water sometimes.
For example, they drink water present in tree holes, and plants, and present on the leaves. In captivity, toucans need a lot of water as sometimes they have severe dehydration.
Toucans can also drink water from dishes, but dishes should not be small and should have a large area so they will easily lay their beak in that dish and drink water from it.
Do Toucans Eat Other Birds?
Yes, toucans eat other birds, but they should be small in size. Toucans cannot eat large birds, and they can also eat eggs.
Can Toucans Eat Bananas?
Yes, toucans eat bananas. Bananas are their favorite food. Bananas are very good for the health of toucans and do not cause any harm to them.
But again, toucans cannot eat a lot of bananas. Therefore, the number of bananas to be served to toucans should be very moderate.
One more thing, never serve only one thing to toucans, although that is their favorite food. Always add new flavors to their life by giving them a variety of food.
Toucans are fond of eating different foods, including vegetables, fruits, and many other foods. They are not selective when it comes to eating. However, they have slightly different eating behavior and preferences for foods compared to other birds.
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