A lot of people have asked me if toucanets play with toys, and what kind of toys are good for them. My toucanets are both certainly very playful, and in general this is the case with members of the toucan family. I have an ever growing collection of toys for mine, because they will play with one for a while, and eventually grow bored with it. When they get bored with one toy, it’s time for a new toy. I take the toy my birds have lost interest in away for a while, and eventually reintroduce it; usually some of that old interest in the toy will be regained.
Both my toucanets have their own little preferences for toys, which includes some odd items.
Hal has a fascination with any container meant to hold liquid, he goes absolutely nuts for Odwalla bottles, and will fly down to any that are around and give me an expectant look which means he wants me to start moving it around so he can chase it. I have to be careful with any open containers around him because he will sometimes lunge at, or peck and knock over them. I sometimes also get dive bombed by Hal if I’m carrying any sort of cup, glass or bottle around. He’s also fond of playing with boxes, and with my mail.
Arisia loves human toys. She loves stuffed animals, and she loves my dragon figurines, which I have a collection of. Since not all my toys are what I’d call bird safe, I have bought her some of her own stuffed animals and figurines which are. If you let your bird have any human toys make sure that they do not have sharp points which the bird could harm itself on, or any parts that could be broken off and swallowed with ease. Getting toys which are baby safe is your best bet.
These birds are curious, and will likely try to play with anything that they can get their beaks on.
Some types of toys for toucans
In general toys which a toucan can chase, throw, tug on, carry in their beak and peck at are good.
My birds love these, especially Hal my male toucanet. I’ll tie them to something, and he’ll play tug a war with them, or I’ll hold on to them and he’ll play tug a war with me. You do have to be careful with rope toys though; a bird could become tangled up in them or even end up being hung by the neck by a rope toy. If you leave a rope toy in your bird’s cage when they aren’t being supervised, make sure that it’s short enough that there’s no risk of the bird getting tangled up in it. A rope toy can safely be longer if lengths of it are divided up by blocks, or other items.
The toy pictured above consists of colorful blocks on a chain, and serves the same function as a rope toy for a toucan. Toucans have very keen vision, and are very responsive to color. Color can add extra interest to toys for a toucan.
Both my toucanets have the above pictured toy in their cage, and they will fight with it so viciously I’d think they hated its guts (especially Hal whom gets really impassioned when he plays), except that both birds are usually purring like a kitten the whole time. This toy is essentially a punching (pecking) bag.
Talon toys, also called foot or hand toys are great for toucans. Toucans don’t hold their food up in their “hand” like a parrot, rather they will sometimes hold it against their perch in their talons and pick at it in a manner that reminds me very much of how a hawk or falcon holds their prey as they pick at it. My birds enjoy toys that they can hold in this fashion and peck at. Talon toys are also a good option because toucans enjoy toys they can carry in their beak as high as possible and drop, or that they can beat against their perch or another object.
If I gently toss the above pictured talon toy to Hal, he will catch it.
Toy balls are a good option, and will be played with by toucans in a similar way to how talon toys are played with. Your toucans may also enjoy chasing a ball, or throwing it and having you fetch it.
Perch Stands/Play stands
My toucanets both like having multiple places to fly to, and I provide them different options by having multiple perch stands set up. Hal enjoys perch stands more than Arisia, whom prefers landing on my bookshelves or the ceiling fan (of course it’s always off when the birds are out).
Toys with little beads and other small enough to swallow parts
These toys are generally a no. Even if the toy in question is a ball with a little bell inside, unless you’re absolutely certain that the bell too big to swallow, or there’s no way the toy could be broken open by your bird then don’t let your bird have access to these toys, especially not unsupervised. My toucanets do have little toy balls with a small bell inside, and one Hal managed to crack open (by repeatedly dropping it and beating it against his perch), it is fortunate he didn’t decide to make a meal out of the small bell inside. After this I decided this was a toy that I’d only let him play with while I could keep a close eye on him. The earlier pictured talon toy is also an supervised play time only toy for similar reasons.
Toys with seeds or nuts
Toys with seeds or nuts in them are a no, seeds and nuts aren’t part of a toucan’s diet, ‘nor should they be, and such toys should not be offered to them.