Southern Ground Hornbill…. is a obligate cooperative breeder…   64 comments

Now I bet you didn’t know that…. hell I didn’t…

What is an obligate cooperative breeder? Each breeding pair is always assisted by at least two other birds to raise the young. Experiments in captivity show that a breeding pair without at least 6 years of experience in assisting at the nest cannot raise their own young….

These birds live to about 30 years old so they have plenty of time to train as breeders before trying their own hand at it…

These are big birds but today only exist in Game reserves and National parks… they congregate in groups between 5 and 10 birds and need an area that has big trees to roost in and savannah grass lands to feed in. Their food is usually reptiles, frogs, snails, insects and mammals up to the size of hares.

The adult bird has a red bare skin on the throat and around the eye, a juvenile white or yellow..

These are big birds reaching weights of 6 kilograms and heights of 1.3 metres… this is a big heavy bird…

A few photos…

Thur 28-07-2011 087

Thur 28-07-2011 084

Thur 28-07-2011 083

Thur 28-07-2011 088

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Posted July 4, 2014 by bulldog in Photography

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64 responses to “Southern Ground Hornbill…. is a obligate cooperative breeder…

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  1. If my mommy had a face like that, I’d want a nanny or two around… ;)

  2. This is a new bird for me and they are obligated to help raise the kids….it takes a village so to speak. But they are ugly just like our Turkey Vultures here.

  3. Another new bird, love that they are “obligate cooperative breeders” – it takes a village!

  4. What a fascinating bird! It’s quite a curiosity. And I’ve never heard of cooperative breeding, I don’t think. Birds are such fascinatingly complex creatures!

  5. Fascinating fact this about being corporate breeders. Who knew? I sure didn’t…thanks Bulldog, love these snippets of bird information :D

  6. Nature never ceases to surprise in its variety of strategies birds use to raise young.

    • That is so true Alex… I followed the raising of Bateleur eagles for about 4 years and each year the young from the year before came back to aid the parents to raise the following bird and this happen each year… it was a fact I was un aware of and in those days was not documented… I thought I’d found an odd pair of birds, but now it is common knowledge that this happens…

  7. It’s amazing how animals evolve in so many different ways and develop their own idiosyncrasies – just like humans really.

    Brian (aka Golfspice)
    • Yes Brian you are so right… many animals I sit and study, even some of the birds, show me they are no different from us in so many ways, or we are no different from them, not sure which…

  8. Very fascinating bird, and great captures of course. :)

  9. It takes a village, I guess? ;-)

  10. This is an amazing looking bird, Rob. I’ve never seen one before. Great shots (again!) :D

  11. You come up with the most unique and interesting specimens…Great photos.

  12. I don’t agree these birds are ugly…they look incredibly wise to me! They have a certain character to their eyes you don’t see in a lot of other animals!
    Very informative post.

    • Thank you, but I have to say they aren’t going to win any beauty contests… wise they are, and actually quite tenacious when collecting food…. seen a few puff adders that won no war with them… that beak is quite the weapon…

  13. Rob you are an absolute mine of information – love your blogs and all the information you give us. Photos – well they go without saying. This bird is huge though eh! Kinda ugly (sorry!) but kinda cute in a weird sort of way too!

    • Kinda ugly???? Bloody ugly if you ask me…. but then one has to have these to balance nature… can you imagine if all men where as handsome as your husband is.??.. Life would be a tad boring…. and if all women were beautiful.??.. Oh life would be a dream… lol

  14. Shall we assume the are more docile than they appear?

  15. Great photos of this rather strange looking bird. They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” :)

  16. Great post and info bulldog! Thank for sharing your insights about amazing creatures. I have to admit I’ve never heard of is one. I’m pleased I learned someone new today! :D

  17. Not the most attractive bird you have ever shared with us, but we can’t all be pretty, can we? Thanks for the interesting facts Bulldog, now get some rest! :)

  18. What amazing facts. So interesting…. some human parents need that too……!

  19. Woah! They are big, heavy birds. Something like a turkey except better looking with a sharp bill. I love that expression! Ha-ha! Great photos of them too, Rob.

  20. Only exist in games parks and reserves? that’s terrible!

  21. Interesting creature to say the least.

  22. These are not the best looking bird. Large & ugly turkey looking. I think they would look better basted than walking around.

  23. Wonderful photos of a rather ugly bird. :) Thanks for the lessons….as always, we enjoyed them!

  24. They look similar to a turkey (face / neck).
    Poor things – not very attractive – LOL

  25. Great photos, but I can’t exactly say he’s attractive.
    Sort-of reminds me of a turkey in some ways (with that red chin and throat).

  26. Interesting factoid there :)

  27. I’m sorry to say this but I always tell you your birds are beautiful…and this time I can’t. The photography is good, as always, but the subject….

  28. I had no idea! Every time you teach me something new… :)

  29. It takes a whole village to raise a child! Love these obligate cooperative breeders! Do they fly?? Probably too big for that, eh?
    Diana xo

  30. Le foto sono bellissime ma questo uccello però è alquanto bruttino :-)
    Un caro saluto, Pat

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