Are Parrots And Toucans Related?

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Birds with vibrant colors and unique traits, like parrots and toucans, are captivating to watch. Are parrots and toucans related? Let’s study! Toucans and parrots both belong to the species of birds named “Psittaciformes.” The physical characteristics and behaviors of these birds are similar. 

Despite these similarities, parrots and toucans are not closely related. In reality, they are members of various families within the Psittaciformes species. Parrots are a member of the Psittacidae family, whereas toucans belong to the Ramphastidae family. 

These families can be differentiated from one another by unique characteristics. Toucans are known for their huge, vibrant bills, and parrots are recognized for their ability to mimic sounds and human speech. 

Moreover, parrots are found in many regions of the world. These regions include Australia, Africa, and South America. On the other hand, toucans are mainly found in Central and South America. Toucans and parrots might have some apparent similarities. But they are not related to each other in terms of evolutionary history. 

In this article, we will understand the differences. These differences and unique features will help us appreciate the diverse bird species on our planet.  

Toucans Vs Parrots

Here we will discuss the main differences between a toucan and a parrot by which we can understand that they are not closely related. Toucans have significantly larger beaks than parrots. Parrots are found in many regions, while toucans are only found in Central and South America.

1. Size And Weight

The comparison of differences in size between toucans and parrots is complex. This complication is because of the numerous species within each group. All species have their relative sizes. Lettered Aracari Toucan, the smallest species of toucan. These toucans weigh about 130 grams and are less than a foot long. Toco Toucan is the largest species of toucan. These toucans weigh up to 680 grams and are usually 25 inches long.

Parrots have a group with various families. Each family has a different size and weight. Buff-Faced Pygmy Parrots are the smallest species of parrots. These parrots weigh about 11 to 12 grams and are only 3 to 3.5 inches long. Hyacinth Macaws are the largest species of parrots. These parrots weigh about 1700 to 1800 grams and are usually 3 feet long.

Ultimately, the largest species of toucan vs macaw can be compared. The largest species of parrot, known as the Hyacinth Macaw, has a larger size and weight than Toco Toucan.

2. Appearance 

Tropical birds, toucans and parrots have some similar features. However, they are typically easy to differentiate from one another. The majority of toucans have crow-sized bodies and long beaks up to half their length. Although they often don’t have a single, solid color like a parrot, they have a wide range of colors. 

With brightly coloured accents on their beaks, in the area surrounding their eyes, and in patterns on their bodies, toucans are primarily gray, brown, black, and white in color. They are thought to have a crow-like body pattern.

Despite parrot sizes varying to a great extent, they have almost the same body proportions. They often have bodies that appear longer than the thicker body of a toucan. Parrots have a wider range of colors than other birds, although both kinds of birds can be colorful. 

A parrot could also have a single, vibrant color (such as blue or red), whereas toucans typically have a mottled look with colorful splashes. The beaks of parrots are strong and arched downward.

Also read: Parrotlet in a Harness: Is it a Good Idea?

Parrotlet in a Harness


3. Beak

Their beaks (or bills) are one of the most prominent differences between a toucan and a parrot. A toucan’s beak is extraordinarily long compared to its body. Some species, like the toco toucan, have long, wide beaks. They have such long bills, compared to their relatively small bodies, which are almost amusing to watch. 

The majority of toucan beaks are brightly coloured, which helps separate them from other mates. The toucan’s beak appears big, yet it is light in weight. A foamy keratin substance fills the interior of a toucan’s beak. This substance provides improved temperature regulation and enables them to grasp fruits with hollows.

Even though their beaks are much smaller than toucans’, parrots have extraordinarily powerful beaks that can split nuts and tear objects apart. A parrot’s beak is also almost typically black. However, they are found in other colors. Their beak colors are dim compared to a toucan’s colorful beaks. Like a bird of prey, a parrot’s beak has a downward curve and a sharp edge at the end.

4. Habitat

Tropical regions all around the world are home to toucans and parrots. They live in the jungles and the rainy woods. South and Central America are home to toucans with colorful and vibrant beaks. Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Africa, and several Pacific islands are all home of parrots. 

They are known for being able to mimic or replicate speeches and sounds. These birds enjoy warm environments with lots of plants. For food and shelter, toucans and parrots rely on wood. They eat fruit, nuts, seeds, and insects. 

Their populations are decreasing as a result of illegal trading and deforestation. To protect these amazing and unique birds and preserve their natural habitats, preservation activities are essential.

5. Noise 

Toucans are becoming increasingly famous as pets, primarily because they are quiet compared to parrots. Toucans don’t yell or scream and don’t create a lot of noise.

On the other hand, parrots are known for making noise. Parrots will shout, yell, and even chat constantly for hours. Each bird shows a unique personality both in captivity and in the wild.

6. Dietary Plans

Toucans mainly eat fruit and are known as frugivorous birds. In wild environments, they eat small lizards, eggs of other birds, insects and even young birds. They utilize their beaks to grasp their food. Moreover, they only drink a little water because they get a lot from the fruits they eat. 

This is one of the main reasons why toucans mainly eat fruits. Additionally, toucans cannot digest seeds, while parrots can. Toucans eliminate food after a very short time because their stomachs are smaller in size. 

Parrots are primarily omnivorous. It means that their diet mainly consists of plant and sometimes animal origins. Parrots have 350 species, and most of them have different dietary plans. Generally, parrots eat a significant amount of fruits, seeds and vegetables. Parrots also eat insects and some other small invertebrates.

7. Lifespan

Lifetime is one of the most important differences between parrots and toucans. The extraordinary life of parrots is well known, especially when they are kept in a cage. Some species, such as the African Grey Parrot, have an 80-year lifespan!

However, even when kept in a cage, toucans rarely live above the age of 30 (though this is still remarkable for a bird!).

8. Reproduction

Female parrots lay two to five eggs, which they either nurse alone or alternately with the male, in nests placed on trees, rocks, or the ground. The eggs develop after 17 to 30 days, and the female remains in the nest for a week or two until the first feathers grow to protect the young from the cold. 

On the other hand, toucans build their nests at the bottom of holes they dig in trees’ decaying wood and are known as arboreal species. The cavity, which has a route for the bird, can be utilized repeatedly.

The toucan may expand its home if it is too small but cannot make one by drilling through healthy wood. Two to four eggs are typically laid, and the two adults alternate caring for them. 

The newborns are naked, blind, and without even the smallest bit of down. The male and female feed them fruits and insects, and they grow in a matter of weeks. After a month, the feathers start to grow. Between 47 and 49 days pass before the nest departs.

What Is The Difference Between The Needs Of Toucans And Parrots?

There is a very big difference between the needs of toucans and parrots. Parrots have more significant needs than parrots:

  • They require a larger cage; They have more fragile health.
  • They are messier.
  • They can’t talk.
  • Holding a special permit to keep them in a cage is often necessary.
  • They tend to be more aggressive and territorial towards other bird species.
  • They are more challenging to handle.

Toucans are intelligent, delightful and playful birds, just like parrots. Toucan enjoys human company more than parrots.

Are Toucans Parrots?

Toucans are not parrots. Parrots and toucans are two separate species of birds.

Parrots have smaller beaks, while toucans have huge, colorful beaks. The ability of toucans to hop and climb on branches and their bright feathers make them famous.

Parrots are known for their intelligence and their ability to mimic human speech.

Therefore, despite the fact that both birds are tropical and can be found in comparable settings, they differ in specific ways.

How Many Toucans Are Left In The World?

Although the number of toucans on the globe is unknown, they are considered dangerous. Due to habitat loss, deforestation, and the illegal wildlife trade, their number has decreased. Hunting is being fought, and conservation measures are being made to save their natural habitats. 

These vibrant birds are important to the ecology by distributing seeds and pollinating plants. It’s crucial to help organizations trying to rescue toucans and promote awareness about their protection. Together, we can assure their survival and help maintain their numbers for the benefit of future generations.


Common Name: Parrot Toucan
Scientific Name: Psittaciformes Ramphastidae
Family: Cacatuidae (cockatoos)

Psittacidae (true parrots)

Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots)

Lifespan: Up to 80 years Up to 20 years
Size: 3.5 to 40 inches 11 to 25 inches
Weight: 60 to 1600 g 130 to 680 g
Diet: Omnivorous Frugivorous, Omnivorous
Distribution: Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, and Africa Southern Mexico, Central America, South America
Habitats: Warm Climate Tropics, Rainforests


Final Thoughts

Despite looking alike, toucans and parrots are not closely related. They come from several biological families, though having some similarities. Parrots belong to the family Psittacidae, whereas toucans are members of the Ramphastidae family. The evolutionary paths of these two families split millions of years ago. 

Long, colorful beaks utilized for feeding and attracting mates are a distinctive feature of toucans’ beak structures. On the other hand, parrots’ shorter, curved beaks make it easier for them to crack nuts and seeds. In addition, toucans eat a wider variety of foods than parrots, such as fruits, insects, and small vertebrates, whereas parrots mostly eat seeds and nuts.

Despite their differences, toucans and parrots are intelligent and popular for their ability to mimic human speech. Genetic research shows that toucans and parrots are separate groups with independent evolutionary paths. 

Despite the fact that they may exhibit some behavioral similarities and live in comparable habitats in tropical areas. In light of this, despite their apparent similarity at first glance, toucans and parrots are not genetically related.


What bird is related to the toucan?

The family Ramphastidae of the order Piciformes includes toucanets, barbets, and aracaris, cousins of toucans. Woodpeckers are also found in the Piciformes. Toucans often consume fruit, but they also consume insects, small mammals, and the eggs of other birds.

Which bird is from the parrot family?

Conures, macaws, amazon parrots, cockatoos, gray parrots, lovebirds, cockatiels, budgerigars, caiques, parakeets, and species of Eclectus, Pionus, and Poicephalus belong to the parrot species that are often kept as pets. Just like dog breeds, temperaments and dispositions differ even within a species.

Are Toucans Smart?

It seems that toucans are highly intelligent. They can learn tricks in a cage and have even been known to “tease” other household pets. In reality, toucans behave much like crows and jays, another family of intelligent, sociable birds.

What’s the name of the fruit loop bird?

The animated toucan mascot for Froot Loops breakfast cereal is called Toucan Sam. Since 1963, the persona has appeared in advertisements.

Also read: How To Tell The Age Of A Parrot?


How To Tell The Age Of A Parrot

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