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Southern Ground Hornbill

From Opus

Revision as of 17:26, 14 March 2019 by Aloktewari (Talk | contribs)
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Male Southern Ground Hornbill Photo © by TwoBoy.
Male Southern Ground Hornbill
Photo © by TwoBoy.
Bucorvus leadbeateri

Bucorvus cafer


[edit] Identification

90 to 129 cm (35½-50¾in); the largest species of hornbill. Males are larger than females.

Adult male: Characterized by black plumage and vivid red-coloured face and throat pouches. The white tips of the wings (primary feathers) seen in flight are another diagnostic characteristic. The beak is black, straight and presents a casque.

Adult female: Similar to the male, but has a smaller bill and casque than the male, and a small blue throat patch between the red throat pouches.

Juvenile: The plumage is sooty brown, and the bare facial skin is dull cream to yellow.

[edit] Distribution

Juvenile Southern Ground HornbillPhoto © by Alan MansonKruger National Park, South Africa
Juvenile Southern Ground Hornbill
Photo © by Alan Manson
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Africa: Southern Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and southern Kenya in the north, to northern Namibia, northern and eastern Botswana, eastern South Africa and Swaziland in the south.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

The Southern Ground-Hornbill and the Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill are the only two species in the genus Bucorvus.

[edit] Habitat

Its habitat comprises savannahs, woodlands and grasslands.

[edit] Status

The Southern Ground Hornbill is a vulnerable species, mainly confined to national reserves and national parks. Conservation efforts include captive breeding, as well as projects where second-hatched chicks (which soon die in the wild as they cannot compete for food with the older chick) are removed from the nest and have been successfully hand-reared and reintroduced to the wild.

[edit] Behaviour

They live in groups of five to ten individuals including adults and juveniles. Often, neighbouring groups are engaged in aerial pursuits.

[edit] Diet

They forage on ground, where they feed on reptiles, frogs, snails, insects and small mammals, such as mongooses and hares; fledglings and small birds. A group has been observed working together to surround and kill a hare.

[edit] Breeding

Monogamous and a cooperative breeder; the dominant pair may have as many as nine helpers. Most nests are in a cavity in a dead or live tree; the nest is not sealed by the male, as is done in other Hornbill species. One or two eggs are laid August to January. The eggs hatch asynchronously, and only one chick survives in the wild. Juveniles are dependent on adults for 6 to 12 months, but generally remain with the parental group for several years.

[edit] Vocalisation

The voice is a deep, booming hudu hudu hududu (male deeper than the female) that can be heard over a distance of three kilometres.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  3. BF Member observations

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