Animals

You-can Check Out the New Toucans

This new pair at the National Aviary are colorful and fun to watch.


The National Aviary has a new pair of birds that you won't be able to miss. Their habitat is right inside the front door, and they're among the most colorful and stunning birds in the place.

South American Toco Toucans are the largest of the toucan species, with beaks that are almost as long as their bodies They're also considered the most recognizable of the toucan family, thanks, in part, to cartoon toucans like the Froot Loops mascot Toucan Sam and various Disney characters.

The male toucan is 2 years old. The female is 1 year old, so they're considered juveniles.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the male toucan was acquired from the Dallas World Aquarium and the female from the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. They were brought together at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh in hopes they'll eventually mate. They're still too young for that, at ages two and one, but they're already exhibiting bonding behaviors like tapping their beaks.

A toucan's beaks is so long it can't see its food, but has to "feel" it.

Aviary staff are hoping the birds will be a hit because they're so much fun to watch with their colors and behaviors. They hop along branches at least as often as they fly, and their bodies rotate 180 degrees, side-to-side as they hop. They eat by grabbing food, usually fruit, with their long bills and then tossing it up and into their mouths, as you can see by this short video provided by the Aviary.

The TreeTops exhibit where the Toucans live is also home to a pair of Edwards's Pheasants, a species believed to be extinct in the wild. This species, native to Vietnam, is also new to the National Aviary and has already produced their first chick, which hatched in April. The chick can currently be seen in the National Aviary's Avian Care Center window.

This baby Edwards pheasant hatched in April. The species is extinct in the wild.

The new chick and the possibility that the toucans will mate are welcome developments at the Aviary, where a rare Andean Condor chick died over the weekend ( click here to read the story )

(Images & video: National Aviary )

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