During your stay in the Mexican Caribbean plan a trip to the area’s nature reserves such as Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, tour archaeological sites deep in the forest or sign up for a jungle walk or zip lining canopy adventure. Such activities naturally bring you into contact with local wildlife, and you are bound to spot a variety of creatures, especially birds. If you are lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of a trio of the Maya World’s most colorful birds: toucans.

Keel-billed toucan

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(Ramphastos sulfuratos)

The largest and most frequently sighted toucan, the keel-billed toucan has black plumage, a bright yellow chest and an oversized multicolored bill. A jungle dweller, it inhabits an area from southern Mexico to northern Colombia and is the national bird of Belize, where it is called the “bill bird.”

With a diet consisting mainly of fruit, this toucan spends most of its time hopping from branch to branch in the jungle canopy and is rarely seen on the wing. Its dipping flight and bright yellow bill make it very distinctive however when it does take to the air.

Keel-billed toucans can often be spotted in the jungle inland from Puerto Morelos and in the Riviera Maya, and further south in Cobá, Punta Laguna, Sian Ka’an and the dense forests of central and southern Quintana Roo. Flocks of them move through the forest foraging for food and have even been spotted in Cancun feeding when trees bearing fruit they are partial to are in season.

Collared Aracari

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(Pteroglossus torquatus)

Like its larger cousin, the collared aracari is a striking bird. It has orange and black plumage and a reddish collar and band on the abdomen. Its range extends from southern Mexico to Ecuador and it is a jungle resident, often spotted near water. It feeds on insects, small reptiles and fruit and is a very gregarious bird. Both parents look after their chicks and other adults in the flock help them. In fact, more than six adults and chicks may roost in the same nest hole.

Emerald Green Toucanet

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(Aulacorhynchus prasinus)

The smallest of the Maya World toucans, this little bird has brilliant green plumage when fully grown. It is also found at higher altitudes and is equally at home in pinewoods and cloud forests. Although it is a fruit feeder, it is also known to raid the nests of other birds – especially quetzals – for eggs and chicks.

Eco trips to the Yucatan Peninsula’s biosphere reserves and a dawn bird watching trip in the forest near Puerto Morelos can be arranged with Thomas More Travel.

Have you seen a toucan in the Mexican Caribbean? Share your photos and your stories with us!