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Los Llanos, Casanare, Colombia

Chestnut Eared Aracari

(Pteroglossus castanotis)

IUCN status : Least Concern

The colorful brilliance of Toucans is actually smartly designed camouflage for the rainforest, allowing them to hide amongst the South American plants. There are about 40 different species of Toucans. When compared to the size of its body, they have the largest bill of all the world’s birds. Despite its size, the toucan's bill is very light as it is made of keratin (like human hair) in a honeycomb-like structure. It is believed to be this large in order to keep the bird cool in the hot climates it lives in. This does mean the toucan's bill is not very strong, so it can't be used for digging or fighting like other bird beaks. Toucan’s take shelter in hollowed out trees usually created by woodpeckers. When they are born they don’t have their characteristic beak, they develop this as they grow. Close relative to the toucan is actually the woodpecker and not the hornbill as they’re often mistakenly linked to.

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