The National Bird of Belize | Birding in Belize, Central America

The National Bird of Belize

National Bird of Belize

The national bird of Belize is the keel-billed toucan (Latin name: ramphastos fulfuratus), one of the most recognizable birds in the world thanks to decades of being used as a mascot for Froot Loops cereal.

Known locally as the “bill bird,” the keel-billed toucan has a large body measuring some 20 inches (50 cm) long, black body feathers, and brilliantly yellow face and chest feathers. But it is the toucan’s bill that makes it such an iconic bird, a huge, curving bill that is neon green with bright splashes of scarlet, orange, yellow, and red color.

Toucans are very social birds, often seen in small groups or pairs. Toucans usually make nests in the upper areas of tree trunks in the rainforest and fly great distances in search of tasty tropical fruits. Toucans use their huge bills to snip off the fruit and then toss it back to gulp down whole. Toucans can often be seen playing and “talking” to one another, their voices emitting a croaking sound that is often mistaken for being that of a frog. Scientists believe that the toucan also uses its oversize bill to shed excess heat.

During mating season, toucan mothers will lay between one and four eggs, and both parents will take turn protecting and incubating the eggs. In the wild, a toucan can live up to 20 years. Toucans are found in forest canopies across Latin America ranging from the southern part of Mexico to the northern part of Colombia.

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