What Do Toucans Eat? ( I was shocked at some foods )

toucan eating

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Toucans are exotically colored birds, each with an enormous, striking beak. Though they may look fearsome, these beaks are mainly used to forage fruit from the treetops.

They also frequently eat insects, and may sometimes eat small rodents, lizards, amphibians, birds, and even fish. Their diet is a bit different as pets, however!

A Little Bit About Toucans

Toucans are native to the lush Neotropics of Central America and New Mexico, as well as Argentina and South America. In the rainforests they inhabit, they live in the canopy layer.

This allows them to get above many (but not all) predators, and easily snatch a nearby fruit as a snack.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the toucan is its enormous beak. They also sport varied, tropical color.

Toucans are not just wild birds. They are also kept as pets, particularly the Keel-Billed Toucan, the Collared Aracari Toucan, the Swainson’s Toucan, and the Toco Toucan, just to name a few. 


Toucans may look capable of delivering a nasty bite, but in fact, they have difficulty squishing even a grape. So, don’t fear the beak. Actually, toucans tend to be gentler and less prone to snapping than parrots, and they seldom screech or squawk.

In the wild, toucans are fairly active and quite sociable with each other. As pets, they are intelligent, curious, and exceptionally friendly, making them highly sought-after!

What Do Toucans Eat?

Toucans are omnivorous, although they eat primarily fruit. They cannot digest seeds and generally, these are not a part of their diet. Reaching fruit in high places is what those big beaks are for! Toucans will also eat insects, and bigger Toucans, like the Taco, will even eat rodents, amphibians, lizards, small birds, bird eggs, and more.

Take a look:

Fruits and Vegetables

Toucan beaks are specially designed to reach fruit high up in the rainforest canopy layer. They cannot digest seeds and are typically limited to seedless fruits, however.

Guavas, figs, oranges, strawberries, bananas, wild ficus fruit, palm fruit, papayas, cantaloupe, watermelon, dragon fruit, acai berries, and blueberries are just a few that they’re fond of. 

The diet of a pet Toucan should be made up of at least 50% fresh fruit, with a moderately-sized portion or fresh veggies, such as chopped carrots, as a snack.


Larger Toucans, such as the Taco, have been known to eat small rodents. This includes mice, voles, squirrels, muskrats, and even rabbits. While they will snatch up these rodents occasionally, they usually stick fare that’s easier to grab and swallow!


Some favorite insects among Toucans are cicadas, crickets, termites, and caterpillars. They tend to encounter many insects in the rainforest canopy layer.  For Toucans, these make a quick, protein-rich snack. 


Toucans are known to sample fish, when they can catch them and fit them in their beak!

Birds and Bird Eggs

Sometimes, Toucans will eat other, smaller birds. They will also steal the eggs in other birds’ nests, making them into a protein-rich snack.


Interestingly enough, a common ailment among Toucans is getting too much iron in their diet. This is part of what pellets are for.

They are low-iron while maintaining the proper balance of nutrients and fiber. When picking out pellets, make sure to go for at least a decent quality, ideally with low grain, and low iron is also something you will want to double-check!


Toucans are immensely fond of water. If given the opportunity, they will bathe in it as well as drink. Their water bowls and birth baths should be cleaned and refreshed daily, in order to keep bacteria – and potential disease – in check.

fruits for a tucan bird
These large birds still need their fruits chopped small and carefully prepared

Toucans Need Larger Fruits Chopped Up Smaller

Want to know a fun (and important) fact? A Toucan can’t actually do much with its beak, aside from impressively scouring the canopy layer.

Despite its exceptional size, unlike parrots, the Toucan has difficulty chewing or breaking food into bite-sized pieces with its beak. 

This means that pet Toucans will need fruit larger than berries or figs chopped up into small pieces, for them to easily swallow.

Toucan Food Hygiene 101

With any pet, hygiene is key. This goes doubly for birds, however. These creatures tend to be quite sensitive to disease and find it difficult to recover.

With this in mind, it’s all the more important to do what you can to decrease the risk. This means that some serious food hygiene is called for. Food dishes should be washed and replaced with clean ones daily.

Along with this, throw away any food and wipe up any juice leftover from a meal or snack.

Did you know the Toucan was a fruit-eater? If you happen to live somewhere you can see them in the wild, you might see them as bright colors in the treetops, as they search out a juicy snack.

Pet toucans require a variety of fruit, balanced with pellets, and of course, plenty of fresh, clean water!

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