Toucan vs Parrot: What’s The Difference Between These Birds?


Toucan vs Parrot

It may shock people to learn that toucans can be kept as pets and are bred locally in the United States. These birds can be an attractive option to potential pet owners, especially if they are looking for an exotic bird. Toucans, like parrots, are intelligent and affectionate birds.

The toucan is a brilliant bird that can be extremely loving and entertaining. While parrots are certainly not cheap, often costing about $2,000, the cost of owning a domestically bred toucan can be five times this cost. Sadly, a toucan may only live 10-15 years, while some species of parrots can be 70 years or older.

Both parrots and toucans require a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables which can be costly to maintain. Additionally, these birds need a large cage or aviary to exercise appropriately. These birds are highly intelligent and can learn to perform countless tricks and behaviors. While a parrot can learn to speak words and phrases, toucans cannot learn to talk.

Which Bird Lives Longer?

Parrots are widely known to be long-lived birds. Truthfully, the species of parrot will dictate the lifespan. Some parrot breeds, like the conure, may only live to be about 20 or 30 years of age. Large parrots, like the Macaw, will live to be between 35 and 50 years of age. The longest-lived parrots are the cockatoos, which can live to be 70 years or even older.

Compared to a parrot, the toucan does not live as long. Although the care and the initial cost of the toucan can be exorbitantly high, a toucan in captivity will only live to be between 15 and 20 years old. Remember that providing your toucan with a healthy balanced diet and plenty of exercise will help your bird live the longest and most fulfilled life possible.

What Does a Toucan Eat?

Toucans in the wild will eat plenty of fruits, which make up most of their diet. Unlike most birds, seeds are never acceptable for a toucan. When kept as a pet, it is very important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. This bird also requires fresh fruits. Using canned or frozen fruit will not give your bird the right balance of vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy and whole life.

A good diet for your toucan includes 70% papaya, about 20% banana, then 10% of both grapes and blueberries. Papaya is not always available, so cantaloupe can be used as a substitute. Try to avoid feeding your toucan fruits with high levels of citric acid like lemons, grapefruit, pineapple, or oranges. The high acidity will upset the toucan’s digestive system.

What Does a Parrot Eat?

Compared to a toucan, a parrot eats a much more varied diet. A healthy diet for a parrot should include about 70% vegetables and 30% fruit. Your parrot should get plenty of crunchy vegetables that will not only give it the right vitamins and nutrients but also provide enrichment.

Although parrots love nuts and pellet food, these should only be given as a treat or a reward for doing a trick. Nuts are high in fat content which is not healthy for your parrot long term. Of course, about 20 different parrot breeds are commonly kept as pets, and many have their own care and diet requirements. Be sure to fully research your specific breed of parrot before committing to a long-term diet plan for your bird.

How Big Does a Toucan Cage Need to Be?

One of the drawbacks of owning a toucan is the large space requirement these birds have. The toucan is a high-energy bird that needs plenty of room to fly. A simple cage will not work for a toucan, so an aviary is necessary. The aviary should be at least 13 feet x 10 feet x 10 feet. As a general rule, you want your bird to have at least three times its wingspan to fly within an aviary. This size is the minimum requirement, and bigger is always better.

The toucan needs plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy, and a large aviary will provide enough space. Your bird will need enough room to fly and exercise and have plenty of room to sit and rest. This bird enjoys sitting on perches, so be sure to include plenty of horizontal perches at various heights for your toucan to explore. Toucans also like to explore and rest within hollow logs, so providing a natural log for a den will be most appreciated by this bird.

How Big Should a Parrot Cage Be?

There are several parrot species available, so the size of the bird will dictate the size of the cage required. Small parrots, like parakeets and cockatiels, need a cage that is at least 24 inches x 24 inches x 36 inches high. Medium-sized parrots, like African Greys, require a slightly larger cage that is at least 36 inches x 36 inches x 54 inches high. Larger parrots like Macaws will need the biggest cage. The minimum cage size should be 72 inches x 72 inches x 17 inches tall.

Of course, cage requirements will change based on how many birds you plan to house together. Small parrots, like parakeets, are highly social and like to be kept in small groups. Keeping multiple birds in the same cage will require a larger cage. All parrots enjoy plenty of time spent outside the cage exercising. Attention and exercise are vital for a healthy and happy bird.

Is a Toucan As Smart as a Parrot?

Parrots are incredibly intelligent and can learn long phrases and words. Parrots can mimic behaviors and figure out puzzles. Shockingly, a toucan is more intelligent than a parrot. These birds have been known to figure out complicated puzzles and learn to perform tricks. Although the bird cannot learn to speak, it more than makes up for it with the other ways it shows its high intelligence. Many people have taught their toucan to toss a grape and catch it or to perform little dances.

How Much Do Toucans and Parrots Cost?

Finding a toucan can be challenging because this is an extremely rare and unpopular bird, especially in the pet trade. Expect only to find a toucan from a professional breeder in the United States. A toucan can easily cost up to $10,000 for a single bird, not to mention the cost to house, feed, and care for your bird. These birds require specialized exotic fruit, which can get quite costly. Plus, a very large enclosure is needed, sometimes costing as much as the bird.

Although not cheap by any means, the parrot is significantly less than a toucan. The popular Macaw Parrot will cost around $2,000, with some upwards of $3,000 for bright coloration or select bloodlines. African Greys will cost about $3,500, while a simple Lovebird may only cost around $50. Plus, cage and care requirements are far less with parrots compared to toucans. These birds can live in smaller cages without requiring the same specialized diet as a toucan.

What Are The Advantages of Owning a Toucan Compared to a Parrot?

Both a parrot and a toucan make an excellent pet, albeit an expensive and time-consuming pet. Toucans, although not as common, have some major advantages to parrots. This bird is much quieter than a parrot and often doesn’t scream, squawk, or chirp quite as loudly. Their beaks are not as strong, so they are often gentler than parrots.

A weaker beak also means they are less likely to chew through their cage and burn through toys at a fast rate. The toucan won’t chew and bite furniture when left outside the cage, destroying your home. Plus, the toucan doesn’t carry dander in its feathers, like some other birds, so your house will remain clean and dander-free.

Related Questions

How many species of parrots are available as pets?

Parrots are popular birds because they are long-lived and brilliant. There are about 20 types of parrots that are commonly kept as pets. While this may seem like a huge number, over 350 known species of parrot in the wild. The available parrots for pets range in size, color, and price point.

What should I look for when choosing a bird?

Choosing a bird is a big decision because birds will be part of your family for the foreseeable future. When choosing a bird, select a bird that is alert and active. You want to make sure the feathers are smooth and clean without any bald patches. Check the eyes to make sure they are bright and clear, and avoid any birds with nasal discharge. The beak should meet together evenly. Ensure the feet have all the toes and the claws are in good condition. The bird should breathe normally and regularly and should not look overly stressed.

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Our team is composed of pet care professionals, veterinarians, and pet owners. To date, we've conducted thousands of hours of research to publish the most accurate pet information. Most of the writers on our site are vets with 10+ years of clinical experience, ranging from small practice, to equine practice, academia, and surgery. Our goal is to help every pet owner get the information they seek about their dear companions.

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