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The Toucan

The Toucan image
Parent Issue
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OCR Text

A quoer kind is the toucan. It seems to have been made expressly to take charge of its trage banana shaped beak, which, in some species, is fnlly 7 inohes in leugth and more than 2 inches in width - entirely out of proportion to its comparatively small body. This beak is the most brilliant possession of the toucan, being orange and black, scarlet and yellow or green and red, according to the species of the bird. lts home is in the wild South American woods, where, mingled with the screaming of parrots, macaws and other tropical birds, is heard its monotonous cry, "Tucano, tucano!" f rom which its name is probably derived. It is a fruit eater, and climbing arnoug the branches it gathers its food with its long beak, whose strength no stem can resist. The toucan nests in trees, and it is uncertain whether it excavates its burrow or builda in a natural cavity. Nothing more comical can be imagined than the head of this creature, with its sparkling eyes and enormous, gayly colored beak, appearing froni a hollow in the trunk of some forest monarch. It is said that the young birds are subject to the attacks of monkeys and birds of prey, and that when the parent bird is alarmed all she has to do is to poke her head out of the aperture leading to the nest. The assailaut, seeing so huge a bilĂ­, fancies an animal of corresponding size behind it and leaves, without bowing or saying farewell. Toucans are sociable birds and go in large flocks They make cornmon cause against their enemies, such as owls and falcons, which they surround and mob, as the rooks do in England. Having thus no need for protection, they are noisy and clamorous, like parrots and moukeys. The plumage is generally black, but the throat is white, tinged with yellow and commonly edged beneath with red. The tail is nearly square or moderately rounded, with the upper feathers red and the lower scarlet. Alternations of the brighter colors are displayed in the feathers of the throat, the breast and the tail. The bird is kept easily in confinement, and no doubt from early times many were brought alive to Europe. Some of its brilliant tints are very fleeting, and they often leave little or no trace after death, so that little idea of its beauty can be obtained from a stuff ed


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News