Keel-billed toucans are also sometimes referred to as sulfur-breasted toucans or rainbow-billed toucans, mainly because of their colorful plumage and bills. They are a member of the toucan family, which includes 5 genera and over 40 different species.While keel-billed toucans are part of the “typical toucans” genus, the other ones include green toucanets, araçaris, dichromatic toucanets, and mountain toucans.
So where do keel-billed toucans live? These birds have quite an extended range as they live in the tropical forests of southern Mexico in Central America, all the way to Colombia in South America.They can also be found in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and a small portion of northwestern Venezuela.
These birds are known by their scientific name of Ramphastos sulfuratus. There are just 2 subspecies called:Ramphastos sulfuratus sulfuratus – Lives in the northern part of the bird’s range.Ramphastos sulfuratus brevicarinatus – Lives in the southern part of the bird’s range.The Ramphastos sulfuratus brevicarinatus was initially thought to be a completely different species but has been classified as a valid subspecies.
The keel-billed toucan is one of the easiest birds to recognize as they have a massive colorful bill. It’s so big that it takes about 1/3 of their entire body length! This means that it grows anywhere between 12 and 15 centimeters (4.7 and 5.9 inches).So that must be quite a hassle right, to drag that massive bill along everywhere?Not really! One of the most interesting keel-billed toucan facts is that their bill is nothing more than a light, hollow bone, covered in a hard protein called “keratin.” This simply means that they don’t any problem carrying their bill around as they probably don’t even notice it’s so huge!The main color of their bill is green and it has a red tip and shades of blue and orange on the sides. An absolutely stunning feature!
Another one of those remarkable keel-billed toucan facts is that they have blue feet. Their overall plumage is black and their chest and neck are yellow, which makes their blue feet really stand out.But that’s not all! They also have something referred to as zygodactyl feet, which simply means their toes are facing different directions. 2 of their toes face forward and the other 2 face backwards, which allows them to get a tight grip on the branch of a tree, and actually jump onto another branch as well!
Don’t you think that keel-billed toucans look very friendly? Well, that’s because they are some of the most social animals on the planet! They just love each other’s company and are usually spotted together with one of their friends or family members.They also love to play games, either play fighting with their huge bills or throwing fruit at each other so their friend can catch it. These birds just love to have fun!