Red-billed Hornbill


Red-Billed Hornbill - Tockus eruthrorhynchus

Zazu, a character in The Lion King film, is a red-billed hornbill

Red-Billed Hornbill Appearance

The red-billed hornbill is a large bird, but one of the smaller hornbills at 42 cm in length.  This hornbill has grey upperparts and mostly white underparts. A black strip runs down the back of the neck. The red-billed hornbill has a long tail and a typical hornbill bill, long, curved and red/orange in colour. The bill does not have a casque. The face is grey-streaked and the eye is yellow.

This hornbill is distinguished from other hornbills by its red/orange bill and it has spotted white wing coverts.

Red-Billed Hornbill Diet

The red-billed hornbill is an omnivore, feeding mostly on insects, but will feed on fruit and seeds. They feed mainly on the ground.

Red-Billed Hornbill Breeding

The red-billed hornbill nests in natural tree cavities. The female will seal herself inside the cavity, using a mixture of mud and her own dung. To facilitate feeding, she will leave a small hole so the male can feed her and the chicks.

The female will incubate the two to seven eggs for around 24 days and she will remain in the nest with the chicks until the nest becomes too small. At this point, the female will let herself out and reseal the nest with the chicks inside. Then feeding of the chicks is done by both parents. At around 45 days from hatching, the chicks will break out of the nest and start foraging with the parents a couple of days later.

Red-Billed Hornbill Behaviour

Outside of the breeding season, red-billed hornbills form flocks. This hornbill is known to become very tame around humans.



Red-Billed Hornbill Distribution and Habitat

The red-billed hornbill is found in open woodland, across the eastern and northern parts of South Africa.