toucan

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toucan

(to͞okăn`, to͞o`kän), perching bird of the New World tropics, related to the woodpeckers. Toucans vary in size from the jay-sized toucanets to the 24-in. (62-cm) tocos of the Amazon basin. They are notable for their enormous, often brightly colored, canoe-shaped bills, which consist of a lightweight porous substance covered by a horny shell with serrated edges. This bill is well adapted to cutting up the fruits and berries that form their diet. Most brilliantly plumaged are the aracaris and hill toucans of the mountain forests of South America. Toucans are gregarious and, like the woodpeckers, nest in cavities. Toucans are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Piciformes, family Rhamphastidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

toucan

[′tü‚kan]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of numerous fruit-eating birds, of the family Ramphastidae, noted for their large and colorful bills.

Toucan

[′tü‚kan]
(astronomy)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

toucan

any tropical American arboreal fruit-eating bird of the family Ramphastidae, having a large brightly coloured bill with serrated edges and a bright plumage
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
FRIENDS OUR AT DUDLEY CREATURE FEATURES BRING At the time, the striking Toco toucan didn't have a name so Rachel, from Halesowen, picked the name Oz as her father's favourite film was The Wizard of Oz.
Key words: hemochromatosis, renal adenomatosis, renal gout, renal neoplasia, soft tissue mineralization, ramphastid bird, avian, channel-billed toucan, Ramphastos vitellinus
In these images we find the permanently disconnected smile of the toucan's oversized beak, the empty eyes that seem to swallow us up as we contemplate them, that type of "bottomless stupidity" which Werner Herzog famously ascribed to chickens.
Nevertheless, further investigation of this agent in toucans and aracaris should be performed to determine the clinical importance of chlamydiosis in these avian species.
Toucans also spent a night in the chamber, and researchers monitored them during sleep.
Darwin suggested that the toucan's beak was used as a sexual advertisement, while other scientists thought that it might be a specialist fruit peeler or visual warning system.
With her love of colour, she was attracted to vivid and comical birds such as toucans, puffins, penguins and flamingos.
The hornbills, members of the family Bucerotidae, have a bill comparable with the toucan's in size and shape but the birds are not related: while the toucans belong to the order of the Piciformes the hornbills are members of the Coraciiformes (like the kingfishers and bee-eaters).
Toucans nest and rest in tree holes, but they can't make the holes the way their woodpecker cousins do.
Most of the residents were away, so the kingfishers, toucans and many kinds of heron had free reign.
Curator Matt Lewis said: "Toucans are very popular with the public.
The passages range from early-19th-century descriptions of toucans in the Amazon, to Bible passages on ravens, to citations of birds as literary and scientific inspiration, to descriptions of certain species as harbingers of death.