Hornbills generally form monogamous pairs. The female lays up to six white eggs in existing holes or crevices, either in trees or rocks. The cavities are usually natural, but some species may nest in the abandoned nests of other birds. Before incubation, the females of all hornbills assisted by the male—begin to close the entrance to the nest cavity with a wall made of mud. When the female is ready to lay her eggs, the entrance is just large enough for her to enter the nest, and after she has done so, the remaining opening is also all but sealed shut. There is only one narrow aperture, big enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and eventually the chicks. During the incubation period the female undergoes a complete moult, using the feathers to line the nest. During this period the male will continually feed the female through the small opening. When the chicks and the female are too big to fit in the nest, the mother breaks out, then both parents feed the chicks.
The Trumpeter Hornbill, (Seen above right) is a medium-sized hornbill, with length between 58 and 65 cm (23 and 26 in), characterized by a large grey casque on the bill, smaller in females. The eyes are brown or red, with pink surrounding skin. Body mass is reported between 0.45 and 1 kg (0.99 and 2.2 lb.).. Distinguishing features include an all-black back, white belly and white under wing coverts (in flight, wings present white tips), and red facial skin.
The Trumpeter Hornbill is a gregarious bird, usually living in groups of 2 to 5 individuals, although sometimes as many as 50. This hornbill is a locally common resident of the tropical evergreen forests of eastern South Africa, where it feeds on fruits and large insects. Like other hornbills, the females incubate 4 to 5 white eggs, while sealed in the nest compartment.
The Southern Ground Hornbill, is one of two species of ground Hornbill and is the largest species of hornbill.
It is a large bird, at 90 to 129 cm (36 to 51 in) long. Females weigh 2.2 to 4.6 kg (4.8 to 10.1 lbs.), while the larger males weigh 3.5 to 6.2 kg (7.6 to 13.6 lbs.). It is characterized by black coloration and vivid red patches of bare skin on the face and throat (yellow in juvenile birds, right hand photo). The white tips of the wings seen in flight are another diagnostic characteristic. The beak is black and straight and presents a casque, more developed in males. Female Southern Ground Hornbills are smaller and have violet-blue skin on their throats.
Its habitat comprises savannahs, woodlands and grasslands. It can be found in northern South Africa. The Southern Ground Hornbill is a vulnerable species, mainly confined to national reserves and national parks. They live in groups of 5 to 10 individuals including adults and juveniles. They forage on the ground, where they feed on snakes, frogs, snails, insects and small mammals. Juveniles are dependent on adults for 6 to 12 months.
I’ve always found them weird but fascinating since seeing them in nature documentaries as a child 🙂
Actually great birds and tame too.
I am in awe of all that you have seen, photographed and shared. Such a joy to have a friend such as you! These cheeky characters look more like paintings that real life. 🙂
Thanks so much Sherry, glad you enjoyed the shots.
What an amazing birds! great captures
Thank you for the comment.
you’re very welcome…you are such a loyal follower yourself…thanks for that!
These guys have such personalities. They are all beautiful in the detail. The second one looks like he has an attitude going on. LOL. Great share! 🙂
They can be so intimidating, I’ve had them sit and eat food out of my plate whilst I’m eating, kind of tame and cheeky, if they only knew how I love my food.
What an interesting looking bird. Great photos.
Thank you so much…
Quite the variety … and wow … tame too!
I’ve had these eat with me, even come hoping into our tent looking for things to eat.
wow! these birds are huge, nature is amazing. I look at the birds in my neighborhood now and they just don’t look as interesting after seeing yours 😉 great photos.
Thanks so much for the look in and comment, they also become quite tame, I’ve had them sitting on a table with me sharing my meal.
WOW! They are amazing especially their beaks…Wonderful photographs dear Rob, Thank you, with my love, nia
Deversity of life!
Thanks for the visit eldinsmile.