Distribution in the Americas
The Keel-billed Toucan's range extends from southern Mexico to northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. R. s. sulfuratus is resident from southern Mexico south to Honduras; R. s. brevicarinatus is resident from southeastern Guatemala and Honduras to northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela (Van Tyne 1929, Hilty 2003).
The Keel-billed Toucan occurs in the lowlands, ranging up to about 1400 m (Monroe 1968, Short and Horne 2002, Van Tyne 1929) in Central America, and slightly higher, to about 1500 m, in Colombia (Skutch 1971).
Common resident of humid lowland forests, primarily in the canopy. The Keel-billed Toucan most frequently is encountered in open rain forest and second growth woodland (Monroe 1968), but also in some plantations (cacao and coffee). In dry forests, it occurs along rivers and streams. In Central America it occurs chiefly on the wetter Caribbean side. In northern Costa Rica, where the continental divide is low and dry season is severe, it is found in the forests of the Pacific side, especially if these forests are kept verdant by a high water table (Van Tyne 1929, Skutch 1971).The species is uncommon in Panama in the lowlands of the Azuero Peninsula, Pacific Veraguas, and Chiriqui but common along the entire Caribbean slope (Wetmore 1968).
In one study, toucans roosted in forest remnants not in the forest edge. However, in disturbed habitats, the forest edge was used for foraging, if not too distant from normal movement areas (Graham 2001).
In Panama, the distribution has decreased in some areas as forests have been cleared (Wetmore 1968).