Here in Torbay we’re lucky to be home to not one but two zoos, the first Paignton Zoo and the second, Living Coasts located in Torquay.
In a recent development, at Paignton Zoo, Bird Keeper Nikki Watt, patiently feeds a toco toucan chick.
One of two zoos in the UK
Paignton Zoo is one of only two zoos to house a Toco Toucan in the UK and one of only two zoos to breed them across Europe.
The toco toucan, or to give the bird its Latin name, Ramphastos toco, is also commonly known as the giant toucan.
The toucan is often more associated and found in the habitats throughout central and eastern South America.
Toco Toucan, Striking colours
It is hard to imagine that this little chick will one day have the striking orange beak most associated with the toco toucan.
At just a few days old the chick is both blind, naked and helpless, with a face that only the mother, or in Nikki’s case, a surrogate mother could love.
Yet at just one month old, it already looks more like the famous Guinness Toucan.
Dedication and teamwork
Whilst Nikki makes it look easy.
Hand rearing takes both dedication and team work, as the chick is hugely demanding.
From the moment the chick wakes at 7am food is needed ever 2 hours until 10pm.
Each meal is filled with a special baby bird formula and fruit has to be prepared by hand.
Watching the weight
Keepers carefully record the amounts consumed in each sitting to ensure the toco Toucan is getting the best nutrients and start in life.
Further details about how Paignton Zoo looks after these tiny chicks can be found on the official Paignton Zoo website.
We look forward to seeing the toco Toucan chick settle in at Paignton Zoo.