The large colorful bills of toco toucans are often thought to be used in mate choice, but there are no specific studies that lead to this conclusion. However, it is known that this species uses its bill to gather fruit that is used in the bird's mating ritual. This courtship ritual consists of either the male or female initiating a fruit toss with its potential mate. After this ritual has been carried out, the male mates with the female.
Mating System: monogamous
The breeding season for toco toucans occurs in the spring. Tree cavities are the typical nesting site where a single clutch of 2 to 4 eggs are laid by the female. Toco toucans breed yearly and have altricial young. The hatchlings are bare-skinned, close-eyed, and helpless until approximately 6 to 8 weeks later. At this time, the young begin to develop their characteristic beak and will soon fledge. Toco toucans become sexually mature in 3 to 4 years.
Breeding interval: Toco toucans breed once yearly.
Breeding season: The breeding season occurs in the spring.
Range eggs per season: 2 to 4.
Range time to hatching: 15 to 18 days.
Range fledging age: 6 to 8 weeks.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 3 to 4 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 3 to 4 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Both parents take turns incubating the eggs in the small cavity of a tree where the nest is situated. Nests of this species were found to be lined with regurgitated manduvi seeds from the manduvi tree (Sterculia apetala), suggesting that parents may provision nestlings with this fruit. The young remain in the nest for about 6 to 8 weeks.
Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)
- National Geographic Contributors, 2010. "Ramphastos toco" (On-line). Accessed February 11, 2010 at http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/toucan.html.
- Pizo, M., C. Donatti, N. Guedes, M. Galetti. 2008. Conservation puzzle: Endangered hyacinth macaw depeds on its nest predator for reproduction. Biological Coservation, 141: 792-796.
- Zoological Society of San Diego, 2010. "Toco Toucan" (On-line). Accessed February 12, 2010 at http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-toucan.html.