Toucans

Toucans Can Be Trained Too

Toucans are very rare pets mostly because of their high price range and extremely sensitive diet – add to that a VERY large beak and some confusing body language and this is a species that can be very intimidating to the average bird owner!

Unlike parrots, toucans don’t necessarily bite, they jab and as they mature their beaks become serrated – so this jab, followed by a tight grip and constant thrashing, can be quite painful. The toucan is definitely a bird you want to begin training with to build a sense of communication between a human and a bird.

They have playful personalities and love a great game of catch – they are amazingly intelligent and can be a great addition to the family.

There are a variety of toucans, though the most popular is the keel billed toucan because of its rainbow colored beak made popular by Fruit Loops commercials. The most expensive and sought after toucans are the toco toucans, who are the largest of all the types of toucans.

As the toucan is not commonly kept, there is a big void in information available on this species. What exists tends to be inaccurate or just not updated with recent findings and research on the toucan diet. Correct diet is the most important aspect of toucan care – toucans tend to die in captivity around the ages of 6-7 years old from iron storage disease (hemochromatosis) which makes which makes education on this species a must for any toucan owner. Their diet simple – if you know the rules.

Toucans require a low iron, softbill diet along with a variety of fruit such as papaya, melon, blueberries and other fruits (citrus fruits are NOT allowed because their high vitamin C content increases the uptake of iron.) They also need a large stainless steel bowl that they can drink from because of the size of their beak. Toucans have died from dehydration in captivity when their well-intentioned human companions did not realizing that the toucans cannot reach the water in a normal water dish. They’re also frequent bathers and love to play in water, so do encourage bathing as often as possible.

Toucans have unusual capabilities when it comes to transportation- they are one of the few birds that have the ability to fly vertically (like a helicopter)and often hop from location to location.

Because they can easily become wild and aggressive, training is necessary if they are to be kept around family and remain friendly and sweet. Don’t fret – although there is a lack of information on toucans out there, we have always had a toucan as part of our flock and enjoy training them. We are here to share our hands-on knowledge with you!

Our related toucan articles:

In fact, check out this review from a fellow Toco Toucan owner of 3 adult rescued Toco Toucans that have been trained using our up to date, latest Training Techniques! 

Why we are Bird Tricks fans in Toucanland…

My name is Chrissann and I adopted 3 adult Toco toucans in June 2011. Prior to adopting these toucans, I did not personally have any experience in training birds – my only animal training experience was with dogs. Once I brought my toucans home, I quickly realized that bird psychology is much different than that of dogs and I went on the hunt to find a program specializing in toucan training. Unfortunately, while there are a plethora of training programs for parrots, no one out there seems to have anything for toucans due to them being more of a rare pet. I was hesitant to purchase any parrot stuff because toucans have such different behavioral qualities. 

I first found Bird Tricks through training videos they have YouTube by one of their trainers, Jamie Leigh. I was impressed with the relationship she had with her birds and liked her simple, easy going manner in explanation. So I took a deeper look into their program and decided to give it a shot, first starting with their “Stop Biting” course as one of the toucans would behave quite aggressively with me and I wasn’t sure how to move past it. 

I was so impressed with the information I received, which immediately clarified a LOT of the questions I had as a new bird owner. In the beginning, I wasn’t certain if I wanted to train my toucans tricks – I just mostly wanted them to be trusting pets who let me hold and touch them. But through the Bird Tricks program, I learned that trick training is an important aspect of building the birds’ confidence in me and establishing a form of communication between us. Once I began target training, I immediately saw a positive shift in my toucans and was surprised at how eager they were to train. 

There are of course a few differences in training toucans in comparison to most other parrots. I didn’t purchase the “Stop Screaming” course, for example, because thankfully, Toco toucans don’t scream. There are also some tricks I have not been able to teach my birds, such as the wave, simply because they use their feet differently than parrots. But the most important thing about the program is the basic principles they teach. I may not be able to get my toucans to wave, but I have been able to diminish their fear and aggression towards me and form a trusting bond with them. Without this program, I imagine I would have spent a lot more time in trying to achieve the same results I got by following their training advice.

Video: of rocko Freestyle Flying TM, and a few other members of the Womach flock:

I believe that the Bird Tricks program really is the whole package – everything you need to be successful with your pet bird. Beyond the wealth of knowledge to be found in the training programs that you purchase, they also provide consistent, on-going support to help you learn and grow with your bird. The Bird Tricks Facebook page is one of the best communities of bird people you can find. It is truly a forum for learning that connects bird owners and is maintained constantly by the always helpful Bird Tricks trainers. They work to create a safe, positive experience where you can ask your questions and learn from your mistakes without judgment. The honesty and openness of their trainers as they also share how they learn from their mistakes is something you  cannot find elsewhere. Their YouTube channel is also a treasure trove of information that is amazingly available for free. 

If you put in the time and effort to train your bird, you will see positive results. You could certainly try to go at it on your own without this program, but I believe it is well worth your money. The Bird Tricks training program has so much to offer that’s given in a simple, easy to understand manner that will help you move forward with your bird and solve your behavioral problems.