Toco toucan chicks thriving at Zoo Atlanta
Friday, April 13, 2012

Species is challenging to breed in captivity

The newest baby birds at Zoo Atlanta aren’t fuzzy yellow Easter chicks, but a pair of big-billed youngsters who may take a little while to grow into their looks. Two toco toucan chicks hatched around St. Patrick’s Day – a success for a species that can be difficult to breed in captivity.

The chicks are healthy and thriving in an off-exhibit building, where they are currently being hand-reared by Zoo staff. Because their beaks are initially soft, young toucans carry a greater risk of injury in the weeks before they fledge, so staff removed the new arrivals from their parents’ nest when the chicks were 3 weeks old.

Native to South America, toco toucans are the largest and most recognizable of the toucan species. With the exception of their characteristically large beaks, the 4-week-old chicks don’t yet fully resemble their parents, who sport black plumage, white throats and bright orange bills.

Stay tuned for details on when Members and guests will be able to see these exciting new additions. 

An adult Toco toucan