Toucans are restricted to the Neotropics, where they are distributed through most of tropical South America as far as northern Argentina, with some individuals found as far north as Mexico. Although most species are lowland residents, there are some exceptions: most of the toucanets (Aulacorhynchus) have home ranges at 8,200 ft (2,500 m) or higher in Central America, and the mountain toucans (Andigena) range 3,90011,000 ft (1,200-3,350 m) in the South American Andes.

The nation with by far the highest diversity of toucans is Colombia, with 21 species; Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil are home to 17 species each. The country with the lowest diversity of toucans is Trinidad, with a single species, the channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus).

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