Zoo Boise Logo
HOURS:
CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Southern Ground Hornbill

CONSERVATION STATUS : VULNERABLE
COMMON EXTINCT
Classification:

Order: Bucerotiformes
Genus & Species: Bucorvus leadbeateri
Family: Bucerotidae

Range:

Sub-Saharan Africa from southern Kenya to Botswana from north to south, and the entire range in between the two from east to west.

Habitat:

Hornbills inhabit woodland and savanna habitats. Groups will forage in the grassland and then roost in the woods.

Activity:

These diurnal birds typically wake with the sun and begin the day by preening before spending most of their day walking and looking for food.

Size:

Weight: 5 -13 pounds.

Length: 3 feet.

Wingspan: 4 – 6 feet.

Longevity:

Exact lifespan in the wild is not well recorded, but it is estimated to be 30-40 years. Outside of the wild, they can live up to 70 years.

Description:

Southern ground hornbills are the largest in the hornbill family. Their plumage is entirely black with white primary feathers that are only visible during flight. As adults, southern ground hornbills are sexually dimorphic with males having red coloring on their face and neck and females having a blue color to their throat. As juveniles, the coloration is the same as their adult form only the colorations on their throat is not as vibrant. Ground hornbills have a large head and beak in relation to their body as well as stocky legs.

Ecology, Adaptations, Etc:

Hornbills live in groups of 2-10 members. As a non-migratory species, southern ground hornbills will stay in their habitat year-round. They have a home range of roughly 39 square miles. Although they do not vocalize often, they define their territory with chorus calls. They also vocalize during courtship and create a low “booming” noise when interacting with family members; this sound is created by enlarging the air sacs and then releasing the air. They are a very tactile species and will play-fight when young and chase one another.