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Red-billed Hornbill

Regenstein African Journey

Did You Know?

  • After they lay their eggs, female red-billed hornbills seal the entrance to their cavity nests with their own droppings and leftover food remains. She and her chicks are fed by the male through a small opening.
  • When these birds migrate, their flocks can include several hundred birds.
  • Red-billed hornbills have a large range and a stable population, with few substantial threats.

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Scientific Name: Tockus erythrorhynchus

Class: Birds

Diet: Invertebrates and some small vertebrates (also, fruits and seeds)

Range: Sub-Saharan Africa

Endangered Status: Least Concern

More Information

At around 14 inches long and between 3–6.5 ounces, red-billed hornbills are a smaller hornbill species. They have black-and-white plumage; the back of the head, tail, and wings are black or patched with black, while the throat, belly, and undersides are white. Their bill is red, although males may show yellow near its base.

These hornbills may form large flocks in savanna and woodland habitats. They migrate seasonally in some parts of their range, especially in arid areas. They fashion grass- and-leaf-lined nests in cavities made by barbets or woodpeckers. Males select nest sites, and females lay their eggs four to seven weeks after the start of the seasonal rains. Females may lay up to seven eggs, which incubate for about 24 days. Chicks fledge after about seven weeks.

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