Southern Ground-hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri
Angola; Botswana; Burundi; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Eswatini; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Territorial and highly social, Southern Ground Hornbills collectively raise their young in groups – a process of parental guidance that can take up to two years – the longest of any bird species known. They are considered to be a culturally important species to many indigenous peoples and are known as rain birds or thunder birds for their folklore association with bringing rain and ending drought.
Southern Ground Hornbills are #vulnerable in #Uganda, #Congo from #deforestation and other #human threats. Help save these remarkable intelligent birds and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4WildlifeTweet
Territorial and highly social, Southern Ground #Hornbills look after their young for up to two years in communal groups in #Uganda #Congo. They are #vulnerable. Fight for them and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4WildlifeTweet
Appearance & Behaviour
Southern Ground Hornbills are territorial birds that don’t migrate instead live in groups of 5-10 individuals made up of juveniles and adults. They are territorial and will defend large territories against neighbouring groups of hornbills. They are known to become aggressive and to pursue each other in the air.
They are active during both day and night and typically forage on the ground, walking slowing to search for food.
For more complicated prey such as snakes and large reptiles they gather and hunt in groups. Their booming voice calls to each other can be heard from up to three kilometres away. Group territories can range up to 100km square.
Southern Ground Hornbills are threatened by:
- Deforestation: habitat loss to palm oil, meat, timber, coffee and cocoa agriculture.
- Electrocution from power lines
- Accidental poisoning
- Human persecution and poaching
- Traditional medicines: that use body parts of the birds
They are found in grassland, savannah and forest habitats from northern Namibia and Angola to northern South Africa and southern Zimbabwe to Burundi and Kenya and Uganda.
Southern Ground Hornbills are carnivores who feed on reptiles, frogs, snails, insects and small mammals such as hares and squirrels. They will occasionally consume some fruit and seeds.
Mating and breeding
They are monogamous birds who form long-lasting pair bonds. Each breeding pair is assisted by at least two other birds to care for young – in a behaviour known as cooperative breeding. Their 1-2 year period of parental care of chicks is the longest of any known bird species.
Their mating season is typically between September and December and they form nests deep within the hollows of trees or on steep cliffs. They line these with dry grasses and lay 1-3 eggs from which one chick will emerge. Their incubation period is roughly 40-45 days and the chick will be fed by many members of the group. There is an 85 day fledgling period, followed by a 1-2 year period of parental guidance. This lengthy period of parental care is the longest known of any bird species.
This means that Ground Hornbills can normally breed successfully only every third year. These birds are believed to reach reproductive maturity at 6 to 7 years, but very few breed at this age.
Support Southern Ground Hornbills by going vegan and boycotting palm oil in the supermarket, it’s the #Boycott4Wildlife
You can support this beautiful animal
APNR Southern Ground-Hornbill Research & Conservation Project
Mabula Ground Hornbill Project
BirdLife International. 2016. Bucorvus leadbeateri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22682638A92955067. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22682638A92955067.en. Accessed on 31 October 2022.
Southern Ground Hornbills, Animalia.bio
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