Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus


Justification of Red List Category
Based on a model of deforestation in the Amazon basin, and the species’s susceptibility to hunting, it is suspected that its population is declining rapidly over three generations, and it has therefore been classified as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 13.6-22.6% of of its extent of suitable habitat in the Amazonian portion of its range over 35 years, as projected after 2002 using a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). By taking the pessimistic (business as usual) scenario of forest loss and factoring in the species’s susceptibility to hunting, fragmentation and edge-effects (following Bird et al. 2011), it is suspected to decline by 32.1% over three generations from 2002.

Distribution and population

Ramphastos vitellinus has an extensive range from easternmost Colombia, east through Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, to northern Amazonian Brazil (Amazonas, Roraima, Pará and Amapá states).


This species inhabits forested lowlands, most often near water, forest edge, swamp forest, clearings, riverine forest, patches in savannas and cerrado, up to c.1,700 m. It is much less common in secondary and selectively cut forest, even a decade after cutting (del Hoyo et al. 2002).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is also declining as a result of hunting pressure (del Hoyo et al. 2002), although consumption of this species by forest dwellers in Amazonia is rare (T. haugaasen in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
No targeted actions are known.

Conservation and research actions proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Wheatley, H.

Haugaasen, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Ramphastos vitellinus. Downloaded from on 14/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 14/10/2019.