Toucans are Well-known Image, Unknown Bird

January 03, 2012
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Often recognized from cartoons and cereal boxes, many may misunderstand toucans, a bird that thrives in Brazil's Pantanal.

While the bird is widely recognized internationally, those visiting Brazil may get a close-up view of the red-breasted toucan, one of the 40 species of the bird that exist.

Most toucans have similar appearances and vary in size from about seven inches to more than two feet. Many also overlap geographically. The red-breasted toucan's territory overlaps with a sub-species of channel-billed toucan; however, bird enthusiasts can distinguish the two by their coloring. They share an orange throat and chest, red belly and tail coverts, but the red-breasted toucan's long bill is mostly light green, whereas its counterpart's is mostly black.

Birders and nature travel enthusiasts heading to Brazil should look for the red-breasted toucan in higher elevations like those found in Iguazú National Park. One way to spot the bird is to listen for it — toucans tend to have harsh, raspy-sounding calls.


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