Monday, July 19, 2010

TOUCAN FAMILY (Ramphastidae): Adventurers of the Dark Woods

Think tropics and Toucans come to mind for many people. With their large colorful beaks, these Birds invite people to enter the dark rainforests, and experience the unknown. For a lot of folks, They have come to represent jungle adventures.

Scientists divide Toucans into five groups. The biggest are the Ramphastos, who people regard to be typical Toucans. The smaller, more slender Toucans are the Aracaris (Pteroglossus). These more colorful Toucans have calls that sound like motorbikes. The Green Toucanets (Aulacorhynchus) live in the cool mountain forests. Their cousins are the Mountain Toucanets (Andigena). Meanwhile, the less social Dichromatic Toucanets (Selenidera) differ markedly in sex, which is unusual for Toucans.

Toucans often nest in the cavities of tree trunks. Often They will choose the same tree each year to rear their Young. Since They are restless Birds, Toucan Parents will usually change places every hour or so in sitting on their eggs. At the sign of an intruder, these very shy Birds will leave their nest. However, the two Parents will return later to incubate their eggs.

Toucans have two notable characteristics. One is their remarkable bills. Hollow and very light, a Toucan’s bill has a network of rods to strengthen it from the inside. These large bills of Toucans have been a subject of curiosity and conjecture by many people. In fact, Toucans use their bills in many ways. For example, They preen with them. Male Toucans play jousting games with each other. Most notably, Toucans use them to spear fruit, which then They toss the fruit in the air; grab it with their tongue and swallow the piece whole. However, scientists have determined that the bill is used primarily for regulating heat in Toucans.

The other characteristic is their ability to roll Themselves into a ball. Toucans often sleep with their bills tucked amongst their back feathers. Then, Toucans will fold their tails up over their bodies to resemble a ball of feathers whilst sleeping. They can do this because their three vertebrae are fused together, and are attached to their spine with a ball and socket joint.

Toucans entice us to enter the wild, to go into the untamed places of our lives. These Birds with their colorful bills makes the untamed foreboding jungle seem friendly. They beckon you to come into the dark woods, where They take you further in on more wild adventures. When you finally emerge, you are more mature than when you first entered. Now, you have adventures that you can draw upon as you journey through life.

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