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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Patrick Karnes

Keel-Billed Toucan in the rain

The Costa Rica rainforests are so beautiful and full of opportunities to see and photograph so many things; for instants, look at this stunning Keel-billed Toucan!

They are also known as sulfur-breasted Toucan, or rainbow-billed Toucan is a colorful Latin American member of the toucan family. It is the national bird of Belize.

Join one of my workshops and seen them for yourself!

Keel-billed Toucan.

Including its bill, the keel-billed toucan ranges in length from around 42 to 55 cm (17 to 22 in). Their large and colorful bill averages around 12–15 cm (4.7–5.9 in), about one-third of its length. It typically weighs about 380–500 g (13–18 oz) While the bill seems large and cumbersome, it is in fact a spongy, hollow bone covered in keratin, a very light and hard protein.

Like many toucans, keel-billed toucans are very social birds, rarely seen alone. They fly in small flocks of approximately six to twelve individuals through lowland rainforests. Their flight is slow and undulating, consisting of rapid wing beats (six to ten), then a glide with the bird's beak extending forward and dipping downward as though pulling the rest of the bird.


PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP October 21st- 27th 2022

The diet of keel-billed toucans consists mostly of a wide range of fruit, but may also include insects, eggs, nestlings and lizards. The bill, surprisingly dexterous, allows this toucan to utilize a large variety of fruit that might not otherwise be reached. When eating the fruit, it uses its bill to dissect the fruit, and then tosses its head back to swallow the fruit whole.


Fun fact

Keel-billed toucans have zygodactyl feet (or feet with toes facing in different directions) – two toes face forward and two face back. Because toucans spend a large portion of time in the trees, this helps the birds to stay on the branches of the trees and jump from one branch to another.


October 21st- 27th 2022



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1 Comment

Feb 01, 2022

What a gorgeous bird. I was surprised at the sound they make.

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