Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill. The flying Banana…

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.

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55 thoughts on “Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill. The flying Banana…

  1. I can see why they are monogamous. Once a mate has been arranged for them–don’t even try to tell me that they attract mates on their own given their natural good looks and charming eating habits–they cling to their mates like velcro. No one will have them! 😉 No, really, once you get used to the beady eyes, honking big beak, and that look like it’s always about to tell you what you’re doing that’s making it mad, it really is a pretty bird… 😉

    • I couldn’t agree more… been with my wife 40 years and could not imagine life without her… and to have witnessed a bird loose it’s life partner killed by flying into a car, the partner sat next to the body for the whole day… I’d love to know if it sought another partner…

  2. It may not be the most beautiful bird in the world…but I like it! There’s something about that second image..the light through the beak I think…I like that! Do you think he brings her chocolate treats?

  3. You got some fantastic pictures of her/him. Is this the male? I like this bird. I never saw the movie. I really like the one with the open beak and the last closeup. An amazing bird and some amazing portraits of it too! 🙂

  4. The bird’s eye seems to draw you into each of the pictures, and show off its character – great close ups Bulldog.

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