Zoo Atlanta happily announced their latest additions recently: Two Toco toucan chicks that were hatched around St. Patrick’s Day. It's a huge success for a species that can be difficult to breed in captivity.
According to Zoo Atlanta, the chicks are healthy and thriving in an off-exhibit building, where they are currently being hand-reared by zoo staff.
Because their beaks are initially soft, young toucans carry a greater risk of injury in the weeks before they fledge, so staff removed the new arrivals from their parents’ nest when the chicks were 3 weeks old.
Native to South America, Toco toucans are the largest and most recognizable of the toucan species. With the exception of their characteristically large beaks, the 4-week-old chicks don’t yet fully resemble their parents, who sport black plumage, white throats and bright orange bills.
TODAY.com multimedia producer Mish Whalen thinks the toucan chicks are cute, but wouldn't want to handle them for fear of getting pecked with that crazy big beak.