Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas)
This omnivorous bird has been made famous by the movie “The Lion King”, where it is used as a character named Zazu.
A Hornbill found in Southern Africa. It is a medium sized bird, with a length between 48 to 60 cm, characterized by a long yellow beak. (The banana).
Females lay 3 to 4 white eggs in their nest cavities and incubate them for about 25 days. Juveniles take about 45 days to mature.
Their breeding behaviour is also very interesting. Yellow-billed hornbills are monogamous and will live in breeding pairs or small family groups. When they begin their courtship the male will feed the female for up to a month by bringing her small bits of food in his mouth. Once they have mated, the pair will seek out a hole in a tree, usually facing north east, and will use an array of leaf litter and bark as their nesting material. When the nest is ready the female will enter the hole and close the opening with her faeces, leaving a small slit in the entrance for her devoted partner to feed her while she incubates her eggs.