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Black-mandibled Toucan

Ramphastos ambiguus

Black-mandibled Toucan

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Ramphastidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Rice, Ari A., J. D. Weckstein, and J. Engel

Black-mandibled Toucan

Hacienda Caracas, pie de monte Sierra de Perijá, Venezuela; 24 February 2009 © Karla Pérez León

The Black-mandibled Toucan is a large, black and yellow toucan most notable for its massive, bicolored bill. It inhabits lower montane forest from western Venezuela south to Peru, and where found, tends to be one of the larger, more conspicuous toucans. Aside from bill color, it is in all respects similar to the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii), which replaces it in Central America, the western Andean foothills, and in the Chocó. Compared to the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, the Black-mandibled Toucan tends to be shier, less common, and more restricted to the mountains. Like its sister species, the Black-mandibled Toucan is notable for its yelping, far-carrying cry (described by locals as “Díos te dé”). It is largely frugivorous, but like other toucans, occasionally feeds on insects, lizards, and the eggs of other birds. Its breeding biology is virtually unknown, and it a remains poorly-studied species.

Recommended Citation

Rice, Ari A., J. D. Weckstein, and J. Engel. 2010. Black-mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map provided by Robert S. Ridgely.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:Canopy
  • Foraging Behavior:Reach
  • Diet:Fruit
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Unknown
  • Nest Form:Undescribed
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern