Toco Toucan’s Diet

What Do We Eat?

Toucan Eating- imgarcade.com

Toucan Eating- imgarcade.com

Toco Toucans are primarily frugivores, however they also commonly eat insects, eggs and nestlings of small or medium sized birds making them omnivorous birds. 15 The most common fruits consumed by Toco Toucans consist of figs, oranges, guavas, and peppers. With respect to insects, Toco Toucans prefer consuming caterpillars or termites. For eggs and nest predation, they seem to prefer Yellow-Rumped Carciques, Blackbirds and Cinnamon Flycatchers.17


After hatching, toco toucans are given a selective primary diet of insects however as they grow, more fruits are added into their diet.26 Toco Toucans exclusively consumes three species, Genipa americana, Cecropia pachystachya and Ficus luschnatiana, which are poor in lipids and proteins but is quite available during the dry seasons. Lipid-rich fruits are scarce in gallery forests, so despite their low nutritional quality, these abundant fruits are essential for Toco Toucans.15 Fleshy, lipid-rich and nutritious fruits are most common during the rainiest seasons, as show in the chart below. These fleshy fruits provide enough nutrients including carbohydrates, essential lipids for metabolizable energy. Toco Toucans are responsible for preying on 53% of hyacinth macaws eggs and killing their nestlings. This behaviour is expected to increased during the dry seasons because of the decrease in availability of nutritious fruits. Nest-robbing for eggs provides toucans with crude proteins which is lacking in their fruit-filled diets.15

Nutrition of fruits during ripest seaons

Nutrition of fruits during ripest seasons

As Seen here, The lipid poor seasons are from June to July and the Lipid-rich seasons are from September to November. During the wet seasons, Toco Toucans have easier access to lipid-rich fruits which decreases their nest-robbing behaviour.15

Fleshy fruits in Miranda River Gallery Forest,

Fleshy fruits in Miranda River Gallery Forest,

Months: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Consumption of Eggs Low Medium Medium Medium High High Medium Medium Medium High High Low

This chart shows when Toco Toucans would increase their behaviour in nest-robbing and insect eating behaviours. During the dry weathers (May-July and Oct-Nov) shows the largest nutritional need to participate in these predatory behaviours.

CP Crude Protein EE Fat CHO Carbohydrates ME Metabolizable Energy
Fruits (ripe, mean) 2.4% 28.9% 16.2% 3107.5 kcal/g
Egg Consumption 72% 32% *not shown 5734 kcal/g

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