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Red-billed Toucan Ramphastos tucanus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Based on a model of deforestation in the Amazon basin, and the species's susceptibility to hunting, it is suspected that its population is declining rapidly over three generations, and it has therefore been classified as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Ramphastos tucanus and R. cuvieri (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as R. tucanus following SACC (2006). Prior to that, they had been split as R. tucanus and R. cuvieri following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Distribution and population
Ramphastos tucanus has a wide from eastern Venezuela through Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, east of the Rio Negro in northeast Brazil and also south of the Amazon in northern Pará and Maranhão states.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'common' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 26.8-40.9% of of its extent of suitable habitat in the Amazonian portion of its range over 35 years, as projected after 2002 using a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). By taking the pessimistic (business as usual) scenario of forest loss and factoring in the species's susceptibility to hunting, fragmentation and edge-effects (following Bird et al. 2011), it is suspected to decline by 38.6% over three generations from 2002.

Lowland tropical forest, especially old riverbeds, late stage successional forest, and mature forest near water. Also forages in secondary forest, edges, clearings, forest patches, pasture trees, plantations, gardens, mangroves etc; to 1,440 m in Guyana (del Hoyo et al. 2002). Feeds on a diverse variety of fruits, also flowers and nectar, beetles, caterpillars, cicadas, termites, lizards, bird eggs and birds, foraging in the canopy singly, in pairs or small groups (del Hoyo et al. 2002). Lays two-three eggs in a deep natural cavity in a tree at 3-20 m height. The home range of a group is large, and birds may move large distances in search of fruit (del Hoyo et al. 2002).

The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is also declining as a result of hunting pressure (del Hoyo et al. 2002). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known.

Conservation and research actions proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.

Bird, J. P.; Buchanan, J. M.; Lees, A. C.; Clay, R. P.; Develey, P. F.; Yépez, I.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2011. Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 2002. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

Soares-Filho, B.S.; Nepstad, D.C.; Curran, L.M.; Cerqueira, G.C.; Garcia, R. A.; Ramos, C. A.; Voll, E.; McDonald, A.; Lefebvre, P.; Schlesinger, P. 2006. Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440(7083): 520-523.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Ramphastos tucanus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Ramphastidae (Toucans)
Species name author Linnaeus, 1758
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,370,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species