The Choco Toucan (Ramphastos brevis) is a large black toucan found in the lowland forests of the pacific slope of Colombia and northwestern Ecuador, where it is common. It is similar in appearance to the Swainson’s Toucan, except it is smaller and its voice is a croaking sound, whereas the Swainson has a yelping sound. The Choco also differs in that the lower mandible is black rather than chestnut red.
Aviculture: Outdoor flights should be at least 8′ x 12′ x 6′ for the larger toucans. Toucans may be a bit pugnacious with other species in their family and with smaller birds, and therefore should not be housed with different birds in small enclosures or cages.
Toucans are frugivorous birds, whose primary diet is fruit. In the wild they consume fruits from as many as 100 species of plants and trees. They also consume a variety of insects for protein, especially during their nesting cycle.
They MUST be fed FRESH fruit every day! The fruit diet should also be supplemented with a low iron protein source (such as Mazuri Low Iron Softbill diet by Purina Mills).
Toucans are not as difficult to breed as often thought and must be housed alone in pairs, preferably following the size enclosures mentioned above under housing. While they will breed in boxes, with a concave bottom, they are far more likely to breed if they are provided with a “natural” nest, constructed from a palm tree log. Logs allow these birds to continually dig their nest chamber deeper, which helps them cement the pair bond.
All Ramphastids lay pure white, elliptical shaped eggs, usually 3-4 per clutch. Incubation for all species lasts 16 days, and young fledge the nest at 46-50 days for larger toucans.
First captive breeding: July 31, 1989; Jerry Jennings.
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