Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan

Ramphastos swainsonii

Scientific Name

Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan:  
Ramphastos swainsonii

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Found on the ocean slopes of Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Columbia and Ecuador. All toucans reside in the New World from mid-Central America to mid-South America.

Natural Habitat

Found mainly in lowland forests, mountain slopes and cloud-forest, toucans also frequent forest clearings, riverine forest, plantations and gardens with trees. Toucans prefer the canopy level but occasionally come to the lower levels of the rainforest.

Physical Characteristics

  • This toucan possesses a large bill with chestnut-brown mandibles.  They have white and yellow patches amongst their black feathers.  Their upper tail feathers coverts white, while their lower tail coverts brilliant red. The toucan’s iris is olive, the bare skin around the eye is light green shading to yellow. The bib on their throat and chest is a bright yellow.  They have zygodactylous toes (two pointing forward and two pointing backwards).  They are the second largest of this family of birds, with the toco-toucan being the largest.  Males may grow to be 24 inches and females reach about 20 inches.  Males possess larger beaks than females reaching up to eight inches.

Quick Facts

  1. Toucans do not migrate but move seasonally within their home range.

  2. Chestnut-mandibiled toucans are fairly common in captivity and are very hardy and easy to manage.

  3. Toucans have the unique ability to flip food up into the air and catch it so it slides easily down their throats, avoiding its big bill.


M&T Bank Rainforest Falls

Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Frugivore & Herbivore

Toucans are frugivorous birds, consuming fruit from as many as 100 species of trees and other plants. They also consume a variety of insects for protein, especially during their nesting cycle, and occasionally snakes, lizards or nestling birds.