Breeding Toucans
at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

by Martin Vince, Asst. Bird Curator





The first ramphastids to be kept at Riverbanks Zoo were 1.1 red-breasted toucans Ramphastos discolorus that were purchased from an importer in 1973. They did not breed, although the male lived here for 10 years until his death, and the female for 4 years until her death. Toco toucans Ramphastos toco were acquired in 1974. At that time, very little was known about the husbandry requirements of ramphastids. Any kind of breeding was almost unheard of and medical problems, especially hemochromatosis (iron storage disease), prevented longevity. Along with the Jacksonville Zoo, Riverbanks received an AZA Bean Award (Significant Achievement Award) for successfully breeding the toco toucan in 1977. Subsequently, a total of 31 toco toucans have been bred here, as well as 36 specimens of 5 other ramphistid species: emerald toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus, saffron toucanet Baillonius bailloni, green aracari Pteroglossus viridis and the keel-billed / sulphur-breasted toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus. Red-billed toucans Ramphastos tucanus have also been part of the Riverbanks collection, although they did not bred. The following chapters explore ramphastid aviculture at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Aviary Design


Hand Rearing

DRAFT Husbandry Manual and 2001 AZA Chattanooga Workshop