I’m pretty with large eyelashes and dark eyes with an almost huge bill that is curving Hornbills are adored by many (the eyelashes are actually modified feathers!). The birds vary in size from the pigeon, to larger birds that have a 6-foot (1.8 metres) wingspan. It is easy to distinguish the hornbill from other birds due to an extra body part on top of their bill known as the casque.

Hornbills have an extended tail, wide wings as well as white black gray, brown, or feathers. They also have brightly colored neck, face bill, and casque of various hornbill types. Females and males usually have different colored eyes and faces. The closest relatives of kingfishers are as well as rollers and bee-eaters.

In most hornbills they have a casque that is hollow, soft structure that is made of Keratin. There is a belief that the structure acts as a vibration chamber, which makes the hornbill’s voice more loud. The calls of the bird vary from deep , booming noises as they go foraging, to bellows, brays and toots and cackles.

The bill and the casque of young birds are not fully

developed Females typically have smaller casques than males do. This could be due to the fact that males also utilize the casque as a way to draw their mates and show their strength and health in front of males. Males of certain hornbill species even battle with their casques by slamming them together during flight. birds facts

Its casque for the hornbill with a helmet from Borneo is distinct from other hornbills in that its robust ivory-like casque comprises approximately 10 percent of the bird’s weight! This has made it a popular choice for those who kill birds to use the massive casques to make decorative carvings.

Hornbills have created intriguing relationships

with other animals. Eastern yellow-billed hornbills collaborate alongside dwarf mongooses to find food! The mongooses await the hornbills ‘ arrival before heading out. If the hornbills arrive prior to when the mongooses have set out and are out, they are able to call down the mongoose’s burrows. Why? Hornbills profit from eating the bugs mixed up by hunting mongooses. The mongooses get additional eyes and ears in order to keep an eye out for threats.

The smallest hornbill, known as the red-billed dwarf hornbill follows squirrels and swarms bugs to grab insects that have been perturbed. Elephants are found in Africa as well as bears from Asia contribute to the lives of hornbills by ripping down branches of trees, creating hollows that are perfect for nesting areas.

They are found in Africa

as well as Southeast Asia, hornbills live in forests, rainforests or savannas, based on the species. However, no regardless of where they reside Hornbills are diurnal usually rising in the morning to entertain and call their friends before heading away for a meal.They may forage in small groups or pairs and others gather in groups that could be hundreds. Between eating, birds chatter to each other and take a few minutes of sunbathing. The care of their bills is crucial also as the birds rub their bills and then make a casque regularly over a branch or a bark to ensure they are fresh. When their day is finished the birds return to their tree of home to sit and rest.

It’s also beneficial to be able to rest by numbers

Hornbills in forest habitats often are found on the branches of the tree’s outer edges as a way to shield themselves from predators climbing up or on the branches beneath the canopy of trees to remain protected from aerial attacks. Smaller species of hornbills can be prey for large owls or eagles.

The majority of hornbills are omnivores and are omnivorous and consume a variety of fruits as well as insects and smaller wildlife. The birds make use of the tip of their bill to remove fruit from trees or even animals off the ground. The bill’s edges are shaved to act as a saw, allowing for cutting and grasping. Hornbills that are larger typically eat a lot of fruit and go across the forest in groups or in large groups.

Two species of hornbills exist which are distinctive

as they are carnivores and spend the majority of their times on ground in Africa’s Abyssinian which is also known as northern hornbills, and Southern ground hornbills. They roam their savannas by foot, in groups that can be as large as twelve people. They consume mice and other rodents, frogs, as well as even snakes that are venomous which they capture making use of their long bill as a tong to keep out of danger’s reach.

Hornbills in Hornbills at San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are omnivores, eating a mix of yams and fruit domestic cats and dogs food items, mice, crickets, kibble and mealworms. the carnivore birds eating more meat than other species.


Hornbill courtship behavior includes potential partners who vocalize at one another, running after each other and paying their bills. Males must establish trust with his female and he shows his love by feeding her all through the year. It is crucial to show his loyalty, since she’ll be cooped within a tree cavity together with the eggs and chicks for several months.

The pair takes several days deciding on the perfect hollow for the tree, which is lined with grass, leaves, and feathers. After breeding, the female makes use of the reconstituted food, droppings, and mud that is brought to her by her partner to close the opening in the tree hollow until a tiny gap remains. This forms a completely predator-proof nest!

The female lays her eggs, and then sits on

them as the male flies between them, with her entire or reconstituted food items, which he then feeds into her by way of the opening. The female makes sure the nest is tidy by throwing all garbage outside via the tiny opening. In certain varieties females molt the majority of her tail and wing feathers

during this time and she is unable to fly for a few weeks. In some species females, she breaks out of the hole when the chicks have reached half-grown The chicks then reseal themselves in the nest and get taken care of by the parents together until they’re ready to be fledge.

Ground hornbills are the only exception to

this type in chick rearing. They don’t seal the nest’s entrance and generally build nests in huge tree trunks or palm stumps. They may they also make hollow logs and holes in rock faces or make holes in earth banks. Male and female are responsible for incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks.

Eggs of Hornbill chicks are laid a few days apart. The chicks hatch at various dates naked and pink with their eyes shut. The oldest chick typically survives and those who are younger one(s) are starving to death because they aren’t able to be competitive with their bigger, older sister in terms of food.

Parents alternate giving the baby chick food. The chick fledges when it’s 2 months old, but will continue to be with its parents until it can discover food independently. After four monthsold, the bird is ready to leave.


It is believed that the San Diego Zoo has a long tradition with Abyssinian ground Hornbills. Our first, a 4-year-old male, came to the Zoo in the year 1951. He was named Charlie and he eventually joined by a female who was born in 1961 and they didn’t have any offspring.

After the female passed away in the year 1971, Charlie was transferred for San Diego Zoo Safari Park. San Diego Zoo Safari Park and was paired with a different female named Susie who was born in the year 1972. They produced one of the first ground-hornbill that was born that was born outside Africa. It was such a remarkable accomplishment that it earned them being awarded the Edward H.

Bean Award that was awarded to the Safari Park by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums “in appreciation of the most significant birth.” In the year 1995 Charlie along with Susie had produced 43 chicks. Many of which were later transferred to other zoos across North America. In the present, we’ve produced more than 500 hornbills, which is among the top number of hatchings of hornbills in the world.


Despite their comical and quirky nature Hornbills are in serious trouble. Hunting and habitat destruction are the most significant threat to hornbills. it is thought that there are 120 pair of Visayan wrinkled Hornbills Aceros Waldeni and less then 20 pair of Sulu Hornbills Anthracoceros montari remaining in the world.

The Sulu hornbill’s small population is restricted to one island located in the Philippines (Tawitawi) and the military presence there makes conservation difficult. Hornbills are also at risk from introduced species like wild goats, which can hinder the growth of forests by eating the new growth.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is involved in programs

to protect Hornbills. We work in the Hornbill Nest Adoption Program that uses local residents (who may have previously made money from poaching and selling chicks of hornbills) in the role of guardians for nests guarding nests of hornbills against illegal logging,

and collecting information about the birds. This helps in conservation efforts as well as providing an opportunity to earn income and also education. By donating to San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance as our ally, you will help us in preserving and saving animals around the world.

YOUNGEggs laid The species with smaller numbers, up to 7 eggs; larger species between 1 and 2Incubation time between 23 and 96 days, based on the speciesWeight at hatch 1 to 3 pounds (28 up to 100 grams)Age of maturation The smallest species matures at 1 year and larger species from 3 to 6 years

SIZEHeight: The largest southern ground hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri 35-39 inches (90 to 100 centimeters) Red-billed small Hornbill Tockus camurus 12 inches (30 centimeters).

The heaviest weight is males of the southern ground hornbill, 7.6 to 13.6 pounds (3.5 to 6.2 kilograms) Lightest females with red-billed hornbills, 2.9 to 4 pounds (84 or 115 grams)

FUN FACTSThe burden of a hornbill’s casque and bill is so massive that the neck’s first two vertebrae are bonded to be able to support the weight.Certain hornbills put on makeup! Their bill is stained with red-yellow and orange because they preen oils from glands that is located at the base of their tails.

Southern ground hornbills’ booms are so loud that they are often confused with the roaring sounds of lionsMost often, the first indication of a approaching hornbill is the sound of chuffing generated by their wings when they fly in the air. This sound can be heard even at a long distances.

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