News

Toco toucans have landed at John Ball Zoo

Cereal, anyone? While it’s not Sam the toucan, John Ball Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of a pair of brightly beaked toco toucans.

The male and female are in the South America area of the Zoo in their newly constructed habitat. The male will be a year old in July and the female is two years old. They both came from San Diego Zoo.

The most recognizable trait of the toco toucan is its brightly colored beak. The beak is also the biggest in regard to body size of all birds. Plus, the beak is more than just for
looks. It’s used in thermoregulation in both hot and cold weather.

The toco is the largest of all toucans with a length of two feet. They are also social in nature and use bill-clacking as a form of communication.

With the arrival of the toco toucans, John Ball Zoo is asking the community to help name them. In early May, Zoo guests submitted their suggestions. Staff then went through the many suggestions and narrowed it down to four. This week they launched an online voting poll to let the community decide. A link to the poll can be found at the Zoo Facebook and Instagram pages, along with a direct link at https://bit.ly/2Wgt4sg.

John Ball Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the toco toucans. While there is a breeding recommendation for the pair, the Zoo notes though that since the pair is young, they will not potentially mate until reaching maturity at 3-4 years of age.

The SSP oversees the population management of select species within the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums member institutions (i.e., AZA-accredited zoos and  aquariums, Conservation Partners, and Certified Related Facilities (CRFs)) and to enhance conservation of this species in the wild