Keel-billed Toucan Ramphastos sulfuratus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is threatened by habitat loss, which has been accelerating in recent years, and by hunting and trapping for the pet trade. The species is undergoing a moderately rapid population decline and is therefore evaluated as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population is suspected to number 50,000-499,999 mature individuals (Partners in Flight 2019).

Trend justification
The species is undergoing a decline (Partners in Flight 2019). Over the past three generations (18.3 years; Bird et al. 2020), 15% of tree cover has been lost within the range (Global Forest Watch 2021). In addition to habitat loss, the species is also affected by hunting and trapping for the pet trade (Jones and Griffiths 2020), so that population declines may be faster than forest loss alone. The rate of decline over the past three generations is therefore here tentatively placed in the band 10-19%.
Between 2016 and 2020 however, tree cover loss has been increasing, to an average rate of 1.2% per year (Global Forest Watch 2021). Assuming that this is continuing at the same rate into the future, extrapolating over the next three generations the future decline in tree cover totals at 20% over three generations. To account for the additional impact of hunting and trapping, the rate of future population decline is placed in the band 20-29% over three generations.

Distribution and population

The species is ranging from southern Mexico through Central America to northern Colombia and extreme north-western Venezuela.


The species is found mainly in the lowlands, but can range up to 1,400 m in Central America and to 1,500 m in Colombia (Jones and Griffiths 2020). It inhabits the canopy of humid forests (Jones and Griffiths 2020). Even though it is sometimes found in secondary growth, forest edges, open habitats or plantations for foraging, it prefers undisturbed forests (Graham 2001; Jones and Griffiths 2020). It is frugivorous and nests are placed in natural tree cavities (Jones and Griffiths 2020).


Due to its preference for undisturbed forests, the species is threatened by habitat loss and degradation (Jones and Griffiths 2020). It is moreover hunted for food and for the pet trade (Jones and Griffiths 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions in Place
Cites Appendix II. The species occurs in various protected areas throughout its range.

Conservation Actions Needed
Survey to produce a detailed assessment of the population size. Monitor the population trend. Monitor rates of habitat loss within the range. Research into the species's ecology and life history. Quantify the impact of hunting and trapping on the population size. Protect suitable habitat within the range. Raise awareness for the species in order to reduce pressure from trapping.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Butchart, S. & Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Ramphastos sulfuratus. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/keel-billed-toucan-ramphastos-sulfuratus on 06/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 06/06/2023.