Fun Channel-billed Toucan Facts For Kids

Shirin Biswas
Feb 21, 2024 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Aug 17, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Here are some channel-billed toucan facts for you to learn.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

The channel-billed toucan is a rather beautiful species of bird from amongst all the varieties that we can find around the world. If you are wondering what gives them such a name, it is the channel-like groove on their large bill.

The population of this bird species is considered common in places such as Trinidad, southern Brazil, and central Bolivia where there are lowlands and forest canopies for them to inhabit. Some of the features that define this species are the large bill, yellow-orange chest, the red patch which differentiates the black body and yellow chest, and the blue or white skin around the eyes. They are also characterized by the typical croaking call that they make in order to communicate or while feeding!

If you would like to read about more animals from around the world, make sure to check out green heron and hamerkop here at Kidadl!

Channel-Billed Toucan Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a channel-billed toucan?

The channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) is a type of tropical bird that is appreciated for its colorful appearance and large bill. They are named after the unique groove on their upper bill.

What class of animal does a channel-billed toucan belong to?

In popular language, we classify these toucans as birds. However, scientifically, they belong to the class Aves.

How many channel-billed toucans are there in the world?

While the exact number of channel-billed toucans in the world is not known, the entire Toucan population amounts to more than 10,000 individuals as recorded in 2020. The keel-billed toucan, however, is considered to have an approximate population between 50,000-500,000 individuals.

Where does a channel-billed toucan live?

The channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) and its subspecies, such as the Ariel toucan and yellow-ridged toucan, prefer to live in the humid, tropical forests of South America, mainly Brazil. They prefer these temperatures because it is easy for them to regulate their own temperature through the advanced adaptive qualities of their large bills. They are most common in lowlands and they inhabit the middle range of the forest canopy.

What is a channel-billed toucan's habitat?

The range of the channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) extends between regions such as southern Brazil, central Bolivia, western Venezuela, the Caribbean Islands, Trinidad, and South America. The fact that the channel-billed toucan range map is so spread out also makes it easier for us to realise that the exact breeding time will differ with each location. They are also considered a common species in these tropical forest regions.

Who do channel-billed toucans live with?

While these toucans can sometimes make groups of more than 10, they are not colonial. They can mostly be found alone or in pairs with their mates. It is also very interesting that after the young ones are fully mature, they sometimes choose to stay with their family. If you ask us, we'd give a 10 for family values!

How long does a channel-billed toucan live?

The lifespan of an average channel-billed toucan is around a staggering 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Channel-billed toucans are an oviparous species of birds which means that they breed by laying eggs. During the breeding season, the males and females court each other by mutual feeding of any fruit.

The female channel-billed toucan lays her eggs inside the tree hollow that it inhabits after the gestation period, and both the parents take up equal responsibility during the incubation period. Young channel-billed toucans are born blind and naked. They open their eyes later on and during the entire phase that they are bound to their nest, the parents feed their children.

Even after the young ones have matured enough to leave their nests and find their own fruit, the parents sometimes feed them. It is not uncommon for toucan children to remain in the family or inhabit the same regions after they have matured.

What is their conservation status?

The channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) is declared to be Vulnerable by the IUCN. This is because these beautiful creatures are facing the threat of habitat loss currently. They are also sometimes captured or hunted in some places which further threatens them.

Channel-Billed Toucan Fun Facts

What do channel-billed toucans look like?

The channel-billed toucan is characterized by the channel-like groove on its upper bill. The feathers on the upper regions of the body are largely black colored, with red colored feathers under the tail. This species has yellow-orange colored abdomens and black or dark blue lower abdomens, a red patch of feathers differentiates the latter part of the chest.

The vibrant color of its chest is also complimented by the blue or white patch of skin around the toucan's eyes. The bills are large and have the ability to act like a thermostat and regulate the temperature throughout the body of this beautiful species.


How cute are they?

It is undeniable that the channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) and its subspecies of birds such as the yellow-ridged channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus culminatus) and Ariel channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus ariel) are very cute creatures. This bird species with the huge bills, yellow-orange colored chest, and brightly colored red patches is so beautiful that certain indigenous groups even think of these birds as spiritual incarnations.

How do they communicate?

The call of this bird species is termed as croaking. Their call is harsh to the ears and sometimes very noisy when they form small groups.

How big is a channel-billed toucan?

The channel-billed toucan bird is 19 in (48 cm) long. The size is almost the same as the Ariel toucan and channel-billed toucan (yellow-ridged). To give you a better perspective, the Martial eagle is about twice the size of these brightly colored birds and they are also almost five times the size of an European goldfinch.

How fast can a channel-billed toucan fly?

There are no records that tell us the exact speed at which this bird species can fly. However, it is known that their short, broad wings do not allow them to be great at flying.

How much does a channel-billed toucan weigh?

The average channel-billed toucan bird weighs around 11-15 oz (300-430 g). In comparison, the average black-browed albatross weighs about 10 times as our tree-dwelling bird species from South America and Trinidad.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the channel-billed toucan's sexes. We can call them male channel-billed toucan birds and female channel-billed toucan birds. Both sexes have a similar upper and lower body coloration and the same huge, broad bill.

What would you call a baby channel-billed toucan?

A baby channel-billed toucan is called a nestling or chick.

What do they eat?

The diet of these toucans consists of any fruit that they can find in their tropical habitat. They use their broad bill as a pair of chopsticks and ingest the entire fruit at one go. They also feed on small insects and reptiles such as lava lizards.

Are they poisonous?

There is no evidence that would suggest that this bird species is poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Given their beautiful yellow-orange and red-colored body, people often tend to keep this bird species as pets. They are also very easy to take care of since you can just feed them any fruit that you might have at home. They prefer a tropical temperature and humid environment which is not too tough to achieve. However, they are a Vulnerable species so they should be allowed to live in the wild.

Did you know...

There are three subspecies of channel-billed toucans which were considered to be different species altogether until recently. Two of those subspecies are the Ariel channel-billed toucan and the yellow-ridged toucan.

The channel-billed toucan location range extends from South America and Trinidad to southern Brazil and central Bolivia.

These toucans live in the cavities of high trees.

These birds have a beautiful red patch under their yellow-orange chests.

The rarest toucan is considered to be the yellow-eared toucanet.

What is unique about the channel-billed toucan?

The most unique feature of these birds is the channel-like groove on the upper bill which gives them their name.

Is the channel-billed toucan endangered?

The channel-billed toucan is declared Vulnerable by the IUCN. This is because their habitat faces the threat of degradation. They are also threatened with the hunting habits of indigenous people.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our toco toucan facts and reddish egret facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Channel-billed toucan coloring pages.

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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