Pair of Toco Toucans joins the National Aviary in new habitat, the TreeTops presented by Peoples



Robin Weber, National Aviary

Office: 412-258-9435 // mobile: 412-215-9199



Pair of Toco Toucans joins the National Aviary

in new habitat, the TreeTops presented by Peoples

The largest of the toucan species shares habitat with a species extinct in the wild


June 12, 2019 (Pittsburgh, PA) – The National Aviary introduced a pair of Toco Toucans to the public in a redesigned habitat, the TreeTops, presented by Peoples. Toco Toucans are the largest of the 40 or so species of toucans that inhabit parts of Central and South America. Tocos inhabit South America. Males are larger than the females and have a longer bill.


Toco Toucans are also thought to be the most widely recognized of the toucan species with their distinctive coloration and large beaks. Visitors will enjoy seeing these birds up close and watching their natural behaviors. The birds hop along branches at least as often as they fly, and their bodies rotate 180 degrees, side-to-side as they hop! They eat by grabbing food with their long bills and then tossing it up and into their mouths. They are curious birds that enjoy exploring the habitat, stretching their necks and elongating their bodies to grab at nearby tree branches and fruit, their favorite food.


This male and female are also a new breeding pair for the National Aviary. Currently they are two and one year old respectively; breeding can begin at three to four years of age. Visitors can already observe pair bonding behaviors between these two. The male may be seen bringing food to the female, or, the two may engage in a behavior called bill tapping. Bill tapping is a pair-bonding behavior in which the birds repeatedly will tap their beaks against one another’s or even interlock very briefly but repeatedly.


Also found in the TreeTops presented by Peoples, is a pair of Edwards’s Pheasants, a species believed to be extinct in the wild. This species is also new to the National Aviary and has already produced their first chick! Hatched on April 25, 2019, the chick can currently be seen daily in the National Aviary’s Avian Care Center window. Native to Vietnam, this species was last observed in the wild in 2000. Thanks to the intervention of zoos and conservation organizations, populations living in human care are stable. The National Aviary participates in the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for this species, an international collaborative breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to maintain a stable and genetically diverse population of birds for future generations.


Funding for the TreeTops, presented by Peoples, has been generously provided by the Peterson Family Foundation.



About the National Aviary

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. For admission rates and more information visit