Toco Toucan

Hand-painted engraving

66 x 61.5 cm

£720 (unframed)

One third of The Toco Toucan’s body is taken up by its beak, a larger bill in comparison to its size than any other bird in the world.  It is made out of  keratin, the same protein of which our nails are made. The Toco Toucan regulates its body temperature by adjusting the blood flow to its beak, which it tucks under its feathers to keep warm whilst sleeping. It also uses it to pluck and peal fruit and the bird plays an important role dispersing seeds in the South American rainforests. It is not very good at flying, and mostly travels by hopping from tree to tree. When it flies, it flaps its wings rapidly and then glides short distances. Not being able to carve wood, it is dependant upon ready-made burrows for its nests and often shares a single hollow with many other Toucans. Indigenous peoples believe the bird to be a link between the world of the living and that of the spirits. The threats to its survival include deforestation and the pet trade.