TOUCAN , the Brazilian name of a
See also:bird,' long since adopted into nearly all
See also:languages, and apparently first given currency in England (though not then used as an
See also:English word) in 1668 2 by W . Charleton (Onomasticon, p . 115); but the bird, with its enormous
See also:beak and
See also:tongue, was described by
See also:Oviedo in his Sumario de la historic natural de
See also:las Indias, first published at Toledo in 1527 (ch . 42),3 and, to quote the
See also:translation of
See also:part of the passage in F .
See also:Ornithology (p . 129) , " there is no bird secures her
See also:young ones better from the Monkeys, which are very noisom to the young of most Birds . For when she perceives the approach of those Enemies, she so settles her self in her
See also:Nest as to put her
See also:Bill out at the hole, and gives the Monkeys such a welcome therewith, that they presently
See also:pack away, and glad they scape so." Indeed, so remarkable a bird must have attracted the
See also:notice of the earliest European invaders of
See also:America, the more so since its
See also:gaudy plumage was used by the natives in the decoration of their per-sons and weapons . In 1555 P .
See also:Belon (Hist. nat. oyseaux, p . 184) gave a characteristic figure of its beak, and in 1558 Thevet (Singularitez de la France antarctique, pp . 88—9o) a long description, together with a woodcut (in some respects inaccurate, but quite, unmistakable) of the whole bird, under the name of " Toucan," which he was the first to publish . In 156o C .
Gesner (Icons avium, p . 13o) gave a far better figure (though 'Commonly believed to be so called from its cry; but
See also:Skeat (Prot . Philolog . Society, May 15, 1885) adduces evidence to prove that the Guarani Tuca is from
See also:nose, and cdng,
See also:bone,; i.e. nose of bone . 2 In 1656 the beak of an " Aracari of Brazil," which was a toucan of some sort, was contained in the Musaeum tradescantianum (p . 2), but the word toucan does not appear there . ' The writer has only been able to consult the reprint of this rare
See also:work contained in the Biblioteca de autores espanoles (xxii . 473-515), published at
See also:Madrid in 1852 . still incorrect) from a
See also:drawing received from Ferrerius, and suggested that from the
See also:size of its beak the bird should be called Burhynchus or Ramphestes . This figure, with a copy of Thevet's and a detailed description, was repeated in the
See also:posthumous edition (1585) of his larger work (pp . 800, 801) . By 1579 Ambroise
See also:Pare (Euvres, ed .
Malgaigne, iii . 783) had dissected a toucan that belonged to
See also:Charles IX. of France, and about the same
See also:time Lery (Voyage fait en la terre du Bresil, ch. xi.), whose chief
See also:object seems to have been to confute Thevet,
See also:con-firmed that writer's account of this bird in most respects . In 1599 Aldrovandus (Ornithologia, 801-803), always ready to profit by Gesner's information, and generally without
See also:acknowledgment, again described and repeated the former figures of the bird; but he corrupted his predecessor's Ramphestes into Ramphastos, and in this incorrect
See also:form the name, which should certainly be Rhamphestes or Rhamphastas, was subsequently Adopted by
See also:Linnaeus and has since been recognized by systematists . Into the
See also:rest of the early
See also:history of the toucan's
See also:discovery it is needless to go.' Additional particulars were supplied by many succeeding writers, until in 1834 J .
See also:Gould completed his Monograph of the family2 (with an anatomical appendix by R .
See also:Owen), to which, in 1835, he added some supplementary plates; and in 1854 he finished a second and much improved edition . The most
See also:complete compendium on toucans is J . Cassin's " Study of the Ramphastidae," in the Proceedings of the
See also:Philadelphia Academy for 1867 (pp . 100-124) . By
See also:recent systematists 5 genera and from 50 to 6o
See also:species of the
See also:family are recognized; but the characters of the former have never been satisfactorily defined, much less those of numerous subdivisions which it has pleased some writers to invent . There can be little doubt that the bird first figured and described by the earliest authors above named is the R. toco of nearly all ornithologists, and as such is properly regarded as the type of the genus and therefore of the family . It is one of the largest, measuring 2 ft. in length, and has a wide range throughout
See also:Guiana and a
See also:great part of Brazil .
The huge beak, looking like the great claw of a
See also:lobster, more than 8 in. long and 3 high at the
See also:base, is of a deep orange
See also:colour, with a large black
See also:oval spot near the tip . The
See also:eye, with its
See also:iris of
See also:green and yellow, has a broad blue orbit, and is surrounded by a
See also:bare space of deep orange skin . The plumage generally is black, but the
See also:throat is
See also:white, tinged with yellow and commonly edged beneath with red; the upper tail-coverts are white, and the
See also:scarlet . In other species of the genus, 14 to 17 in number, the bill is mostly particoloured—green, yellow, red,
See also:chestnut, blue and black variously combining so as often to form a ready diagnosis; but some of these tints are very fleeting and often leave little or no trace after
See also:death . Alternations of the brighter
See also:colours are also displayed in the feathers of the throat,
See also:breast and tail-coverts, so as to be in like manner characteristic of the species, and in several the bare space
See also:round the eye is yellow, green, blue or
See also:lilac . The sexes are alike in coloration, the
See also:males being largest . The tail is nearly square or moderately rounded . In the genus Pteroglossus, the " Aracaris (pronounced Arassari), the sexes more or less differ in appearance, and the tail is graduated . The species are smaller in size, and nearly all are banded on the belly, which is generally yellow, with black and scarlet, while except in two the throat of the males at least is black . One of the most remarkable and beautiful is P. beauharnaisi, by some authors placed in a distinct genus and called Beauharnaisius ulocomus . In this the feathers of the top of the
See also:head are very singular, looking like glossy curled shavings of black
See also:horn or
See also:whalebone, the effect being due to•the dilatation of the
See also:shaft and its coalescence with the consolidated barbs . Some of the feathers of the
See also:straw-coloured throat and cheeks partake of the same structure, but in a less degree, while the subterminal part of the lamina is of a lustrous pearly-white.' The beak is richly coloured, ' One point of some
See also:interest may, however, be noticed .
In 1705Plot (N.H .
See also:Oxfordshire, p . 182) recorded a toucan found within two
See also:miles of
See also:Oxford in 1644, the
See also:body of which was given to the repository in the medical school of that university, where, he said, " it is still to be seen." Already in 1700 Leigh in his
See also:Lancashire (i . 195, Birds, tab . 1, fig . 2) had figured another which had been found dead on the
See also:coast of that
See also:county about two years before . The bird is easily kept in captivity, and no doubt from early times many were brought alive to
See also:Europe . Besides the one dissected by Pare, as above mentioned, Joh .
See also:Faber, in his additions to Hernandez's work on the Natural History of Mexico (1651), figures (p . 697) one seen and described by Puteus (Dal Pozzo) at
See also:Fontainebleau . 2 Of this the
See also:brothers Sturm in 1841 published at
See also:Nuremberg a German version . 3 This curious peculiarity naturally attracted the notice of the first discoverer of the species, Poeppig, who briefly described it in a
See also:letter published in Froriep's Notizen (xxxii .
See also:December 1831.being green and
See also:crimson above and lemon below . The upper plumage generally is dark green, but the
See also:mantle and rump are crimson, as are a broad abdominal
See also:belt, the flanks and many crescentic markings on the otherwise yellow lower parts.' The
See also:group or genus Selenodera, proposed by J . Gould in 1837 (Icones avium, pt . I), contains some 6 or 7 species, having the beak, which is mostly transversely striped, and tail shorter than in Pteroglossus . Here the sexes also differ in coloration, the males having the head and breast black, and the
See also:females the same parts chestnut; but all have a yellow nuchal
See also:crescent (whence the name of the group) . The so-called
See also:hill-toucans have been separated as another genus, Audigena, and consist of some 5 or 6 species chiefly frequenting the slopes of the
See also:Andes and reaching an
See also:elevation of Io,000 ft., though one, often placed among them, but perhaps belonging rather to Pteroglossus, the A. bailloni, remarkable for its yellow-orange head,
See also:neck and lower parts, inhabits the lowlands of
See also:southern Brazil . Another very singular form is A, laminirostris, which has affixed on either side of the maxilla, near the base, a quadrangular ivory-like
See also:plate, forming a feature unique in this or almost in any family of birds . The group Aulacorhamphus, or " groove-bills," with a considerable but rather uncertain number of species, contains the rest of the toucans . The monstrous serrated bill that so many toucans possess was by G . L . L . Buffon accounted a
See also:grave defect of nature, and it must be confessed that no one has given what seems to be a satisfactory explanation of its precise use, though on evolutionary principles none will now doubt its fitness to the bird's requirements .
Solid as it looks, its
See also:weight is inconsiderable, and the perfect hinge by which the maxilla is articulated. adds to its efficiency as an instrument of prehension . W . Swainson (Classif . Birds, ii . 138) imagined it merely " to contain an infinity of nerves, disposed like
See also:net-work, all of which lead immediately to the nostrils," and add to the olfactory
See also:faculty . This notion seems to be borrowed from J . W . H . Trail (Trans . Linn . Society, xi . 289), who admittedly had it from
See also:Waterton, and stated that it was " an admirable contrivance of nature to increase the delicacy of the
See also:organ of smell ;" but R .
Owen's description showed this view to be groundless, and he attributed the extraordinary development of the toucan's beak to the need of compensating, by the additionalpower of mastication thus given, for the
See also:absence of any of the grinding structures that are so characteristic of the intestinal
See also:tract of
See also:vegetable-eating birds—its
See also:organs possessing a general simplicity of formation . The nostrils are placed so as to be in most forms invisible until sought, being obscured by the frontal feathers or the backward prolongation of the horny sheath of the beak . The wings are somewhat feeble, and the legs have the toes placed in pairs, two before and two behind . The tail is capable of
See also:free vertical motion, and controlled by strong muscles, so that, at least in the true toucans, when the bird is preparing to sleep it is reverted and lies almost
See also:flat on the back, on which also the huge bill reposes, pointing in the opposite direction . The toucans are limited to the new
See also:world, and by far the greater number inhabit the
See also:north of South America, especially Guiana and the valley of the
See also:Amazons . Some three species occur in Mexico, and several in Central America . One, R. vitellinus, which has its head-quarters on the mainland, is said to be
See also:common in
See also:Trinidad, but none are found in the
See also:Antilles proper . They compose the family Rhamphastidae of Coraciiform birds, and are associated with the
See also:wood-peckers (Picidae) and puff-birds and jacamars (Galbulidae) ; their nearest
See also:allies perhaps exist among the Capitonidae, but none of these is believed to have the long feather-like tongue which is so characteristic of the toucans, and is, so far as known, possessed besides only by the Momotidae (see
See also:MOTMOT) . But of these last there is no reason to deem the toucans close relatives, and according to W . Swainson, who had opportunities of observing both, the alleged resemblance in their habits has no existence . Toucans in confinement feed mainly on fruit, but little seems amiss to them, and they swallow grubs,
See also:reptiles and small birds with avidity . They nest in hollow trees, and
See also:lay white eggs .
TOUCH (derived through Fr. toucher from a common Te...
There are no comments yet for this article.
Do not copy, download, transfer, or otherwise replicate the site content in whole or in part.
Links to articles and home page are encouraged.