Southern Ground Hornbill…. is a obligate cooperative breeder…

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


64 thoughts on “Southern Ground Hornbill…. is a obligate cooperative breeder…

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

    • 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…

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

    • 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…

    • 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…

  3. 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

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. 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).

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