Toucan play that game
Monday 28 August 2006
Three new hungry beaks arrived at ZSL London Zoo this month – and they are big beaks indeed.
The zoo’s resident toco toucans are now the proud parents of three chicks, making it the fourth time ZSL London Zoo has successfully bred the birds.
The toco toucan (Ramphasos toco) is the best known and largest member of the toucan family, living mainly in the South American rainforests.
Apart from their striking black plumage with an orange eye ring and white throat, their huge yellow beaks are their most eye-catching feature, growing up to 8in long.
Althought their beaks look heavy and unweildy they are actually hollow and very light and a perfect tool for the toucans to pick fruit, although they also feed on seeds, insects and eggs.
Toucans have an annual reproduction cycle and use fallen trees or holes as nesting sites. The three chicks only made an appearance from their nesting box two weeks ago and are already delighting visitors at the zoo.