In the lowland rainforests of Costa Rica it’s not an uncommon sight to see Chestnut-mandibled Toucans (Ramphastos swainsonii) and more times than not you’ll hear them long before you see them. They’re extremely loud and like to travel in small flocks. If you see one you’re bound to see a second. They are fascinating animals and as I have time I’ll dig up some audio recordings I made one morning at sunrise of Toucans calling each other. No need for an alarm clock when in the rainforest particularly with Toucans in the neighborhood. Two things I’ve learned about Toucans…
1. They’re opportunistic and will feed on not just insects, lizards and frogs, but on birds as well. Apparently they’ll follow other birds to steal their food source or raid their nests to eat their young. I wonder if Kellogg knew that when they made a Toucan the mascot for Fruit Loops?
2. In the journal Science it was just announced that a team of researchers has finally discovered the primary purpose of their large bill… to stay cool. Apparently Toucans can regulate the flow of blood to their bill to stay cool through out the day or to conserve heat as needed. With a bill that makes up 30% of their size it’s the largest radiator system in the animal world. Read more about this on the BBC web site Hot secret behind toucan’s bill (with a thermal imaging video).
[tags]photography, stock photo, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, toucan, bird, wildlife, bill, beak, discovery, science, Ramphastos swainsonii [/tags]