photo - side view of face of Lucy the toucan

Toucan Species Makes a Colorful Debut at the Louisville Zoo (Media Release)

Contact:  Kyle Shepherd
(O) 502-238-5331 (C) 502-744-5639  

The Louisville Zoo is happy to announce its newest addition is a toco toucan named Lucy — marking the debut of a species never before seen at the Zoo.

The nearly 7-year-old bird brings her colorful bill to the Louisville Zoo from the Saint Louis Zoo. Lucy can be seen in the newly renovated exhibit across from the jaguar habitat. She will share her new home in rotation with the Zoo’s hyacinth macaws.

Toco toucans are the largest and best-known toucan species. They are native to open woodlands found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay. Toucans have a frog-like call that can be heard from half a mile away. Their bills make up half of their length, which can be nearly 25 inches long. It is believed that these large bills play an important role in courtship display and as a defensive weapon. They also aid in reaching hanging fruit and in obtaining eggs from other birds’ nests. Along with these many important roles, the bills are also thought to be a primary use for thermoregulation — a mechanism by which mammals maintain body temperature with tightly controlled self-regulation independent of external temperatures.


The global population is unknown. However, some estimates say it is believed to be approximately 10,000 individuals. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has toco toucans listed as “decreasing” due to habitat loss from deforestation, being hunted for food and ornamental features, and due to the pet trade.

The Zoo is open daily, year-round. The current hours are 10 a.m. ─ 5 p.m. (stay until 6 p.m.) through September 17. The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

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The Louisville Zoo, the State Zoo of Kentucky, is the top, non-profit, paid attraction in the state. The Zoo is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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