Myths Surrounding Southern Ground Hornbill with Pictures and Facts

southern ground hornbill

Southern ground hornbill -The southerly ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri; formerly referred to as Bucorvus cafer), is just one of two types of ground hornbill and is the largest varieties of hornbill. The various other varieties of the category Bucorvus is the Abyssinian ground hornbill, B. abyssinicus.

Southern Ground Hornbill Summary

  • KingdomAnimalia
  • PhylumChordata
  • ClassAves
  • OrderCoraciiformes
  • FamilyBucorvidae
  • GenusBucorvus

The southerly ground-hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) is the biggest hornbill on the planet and also features a striking red facial and also throat skin that contrasts with its black quill. This species is called for its habit of walking on the ground as it feeds, as well as it is less frequently seen in flight.

The costs of the southern ground-hornbill is long, thick and downward-curving, with a small casque on the top. The eyes of this varieties are light yellow, as well as its legs are black and quite robust. When it does fly, the southerly ground-hornbill discloses striking white primary feathers on its wings.

The female southerly ground-hornbill differs from the man because there is a violet patch on the throat, rather than just pure red colouration. Juveniles are duller and also browner than the grownups, with brownish eyes and also a smaller bill, and also individuals under two years of age have yellow-colored facial skin. As the bird ages, the face skin ends up being a lot more mottled with red as well as blue spots, prior to lastly ending up being totally red at concerning four years old.

The phone call of the southerly ground hornbill is a very deep, resounding booming sound that can carry over large ranges.

Likewise known as African ground hornbill, ground hornbill, southerly ground hornbill. SynonymsBucorvus cafer. FrenchGrand Calao terrestre.SizeMale weight: 3.5 – 6.1 kg Female weight: 2.2 – 4.6 kg Length: 102 centimeters.

Southern Ground Hornbill Biology

southern ground hornbill facts
Stefan Cruysberghs

The southerly ground-hornbill is long-lived, reaching 50 or even 60 years old. It has a diverse diet, mostly consisting of arthropods located on the ground. Throughout the completely dry period, amphibians and also lizards are likewise eaten, and bigger species including serpents, hares as well as tortoises have likewise been recorded in its diet plan.

The southerly ground-hornbill also occasionally eats carrion, fruit and seeds, as well as will groom common warthogs for bloodsuckers which it after that takes in. Mating in the southerly ground-hornbill occurs between September as well as December, and also 2 eggs are generally stocked tree or cliff hollows. The first egg is laid three to five days before the 2nd as well as the first chick usually outcompetes its younger brother or sister.

As just one chick typically survives to fledge the reproductive price of this varieties is for that reason rather slow-moving. One study in South Africa recommended that a family group just create an average of one fledgling every nine years, although in various other areas they may breed more often. The eggs of the southern ground-hornbill hatch after an incubation duration of about 40 days. The young fledge at around 85 days old, but

hinge on the adults for several a lot more months. The southerly ground-hornbill in some cases lives as a solitary reproduction pair, however a lot more commonly in a co-operative reproduction team in which the leading breeding pair is assisted by various other members of the group. Teams consist of around 2 to 11 people, and also defend a region of as much as 100 square kilometres utilizing duets or choruses of calls.

Habitat and Diet of the Southern Ground Hornbill

southern ground hornbill

Southern ground hornbills could be located from northern Namibia and Angola to north South Africa to Burundi and also Kenya. They need a savanna environment with large trees for nesting and also dense but brief yard for foraging.

The southern ground hornbill is a vulnerable varieties, generally confined to nationwide reserves and also national forests. They live in groups of 5 to 10 individuals including grownups and also juveniles. Commonly, adjoining groups are participated in aerial pursuits.

They forage on the ground, where they eat reptiles, frogs, snails, insects as well as mammals up to the dimension of hares. Southern ground hornbills extremely rarely drink: [9] their variety is limited at its western end by the lack of trees in which to construct nests.

Southern ground hornbill on termite mound near Mopani, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Southern ground hornbill groups are very singing: contact is made by employ carolers which can normally be listened to at distances of as much as 3 kilometres (1.86 mi). [10] The telephone calls permit each team to maintain its areas, which need to be as huge as 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi) even in the most effective habitat.

Breeding and Life Cycle of Southern Ground Hornbill

southern ground hornbill
Julien Herry

The southern ground hornbill is an obligate cooperative breeder, with each reproducing pair constantly aided by at least two various other birds. It is understood using experiments in bondage that birds without 6 years experience as assistants at the nest are unable to breed efficiently if they do come to be dog breeders. This recommends that unaided pairs can not back young which aiding skill as an adolescent is crucial for rearing young as an adult.

Three southerly ground hornbills in Trip near Shimuwuni, Kruger National Park, South Africa

In bondage, an optimum life expectancy of 70 years is videotaped, and it is usually thought that the life span of a bird that endures long enough to fledge is as high as thirty years or even more, which approaches much more notoriously long-lived birds like the straying albatross.

Ground hornbills are believed to get to maturity at six to 7 years, yet very few type at this age. Nests are usually deep hollows in very old trees, though there exist reports ground hornbills carry occasions nested on cliff.

One to 3 eggs are laid at the beginning of the wet season but siblicide makes sure that just one snuggling is ever fledged. The eggs procedure 73 millimetres (2.87 in) by 56 millimetres (2.20 in) as well as are pure white in colour however extremely harsh in texture.

The period of adult dependence complying with a 40 to 45-day incubation period and an 85-day fledging period is between one and 2 years depending upon climatic problems prior to young are independent of moms and dads and helpers, which is the lengthiest of any type of bird.

This implies that ground hornbills could normally breed efficiently only every 3rd year. Triennial breeding is exceptionally unusual in birds: probably the only other bird which types on a triennial basis is the ornate hawk-eagle of Neotropical rainforests.

Conservation of The Southern Ground Hornbill

african southern ground hornbill
edwin godinho –

Owing to large scale clearing up of the bird’s specialist habitat for farming, in addition to its extremely slow-moving reproductive price, the southerly ground hornbill is classified as at risk to extinction; nonetheless, in South Africa, where most researches on the varieties have been performed, it is provided as jeopardized.

The southerly ground hornbill’s loud voice and plus size have actually made it a centerpiece in many traditional African societies. Historically, there were solid taboos versus murder of ground hornbills; nevertheless these have actually been compromised with the modernisation of Africa.

For southern African societies, the ground hornbill was a sign of the arrival of the rainy period and this could have been a factor in prior searching taboos.

The total populace dimension of the southerly ground-hornbill is unknown, but there are around 1,500 southerly ground-hornbills in South Africa, with concerning half of them living in safeguarded national parks (4).

The Mabula Ground Hornbill Preservation Task is performing research study and also preservation tasks for the southerly ground hornbill in South Africa. Part of their work includes gathering as well as hand-rearing second-hatched chicks that normally pass away.

The project also offers fabricated nests in areas where nest sites are restricted. Public awareness campaigns have actually been advised for the southern ground-hornbill, although in some locations tribal folklore still shields this charismatic bird.

Southern Ground Hornbill Dangers

southern ground hornbill
Fanie Heymans –

Southern ground-hornbill numbers have actually declined over years. For instance, in South Africa it is assumed that there has actually been a 50 percent decrease in numbers from historic figures. Seventy percent of southern ground-hornbill habitat has been shed to agriculture, overgrazing, and a loss of appropriate breeding trees.

Various other human impacts include indirect poisoning, capturing, and direct shooting, and accidents with powerlines might additionally be a hazard in some areas.

Male southerly ground-hornbills are sometimes considered a problem to individuals due to the fact that they assault their very own representation in home windows, in some cases damaging the glass, and also might be persecuted therefore.

10 Fascinating Facts About the Ground Hornbill

southern ground hornbill
stevan van zyl –

1. As huge and also black as turkeys, wielding expenses like hatchets, these charming birds reduced an apparent dash as they strut around the shrub in small family celebrations. There are two similar varieties: the southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) is much the a lot more widespread and better recognized; the Abyssinian ground hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus) happens only north of the Equator.

southern ground hornbill
Leroi du Preez –

2. Ground hornbills call with each other prior to dawn in a carolers of duplicated reduced grunting notes that sounds not unlike a remote lion. They enhance their phone calls by blowing up the big, red, balloon-like wattle below their costs.

southern ground hornbill intelligence
Andries Breytenbach –

3. Small pets should lie low when a party of ground hornbills is out foraging. These omnivores snap up anything from pests and reptiles to small birds, rodents, tortoises and also serpents as huge as smoke adders.

4. Ground hornbills are extremely slow dog breeders. A pair creates simply one brood of two chicks every nine years, only one which survives. Immature birds within the social group work as ‘helpers’, looking after the solitary chick.

5. Ground hornbills have actually met 70 years in bondage. This makes them among the globe’s longest-lived birds, on par with albatrosses.

southern ground hornbill
Andreas Stang-

Standard African societies saw ground hornbills as harbingers of rainfall. Eliminating them was thus forbidden. Unfortunately, with the passing away of such ideas, these birds have become increasingly threatened.

6. These remarkable birds mature to 1.3 metres long, making them the biggest species of hornbill worldwide.

7. They are superb hunters, strolling along the ground as well as using their significant beaks to capture a wide range of victim, consisting of reptiles, serpents, birds, small creatures, insects or even bunnies, tortoises and monkeys. They also consume seeds as well as fruit.

8. Southern ground-hornbills are the slowest breeders of any kind of bird on the planet. They lay 1-3 eggs, however typically only one chick endures. The parents rely on a small team of others to increase as well as feed their chick, which uses up to 2 years to end up being an independent grownup.

They are incapable to reproduce up until they have to do with 7 years old. It’s estimated that a team only elevates one adult every nine years, so the good news is they live for up to 60 years.

9. They live in very large areas and also are really loud, making calls that can be listened to up to 3 kilometres away to defend their regions.

10. Southern ground-hornbills are found in open meadows and savannah throughout sub-Saharan Africa. They are taken into consideration susceptible to termination due to loss of habitat as well as since it takes a long period of time for their numbers to recoup.

Myths Surrounding Ground Hornbills

southern ground hornbill

They’re a symbol of good luck … unless they mean your family members’s in problem. It’s taboo to kill them … unless an older informs you to. The numerous myths surrounding the southern ground hornbill are frequently inconsistent, however something’s for certain: this weird looking bird has a permanent perch in the African creative imagination.

Big as well as black, with spooky, raw-looking red skin around the eyes as well as throat cavity, ground hornbills look a little like something from a fairy tale … or a nightmare. Their look is a lot more upsetting when you take into consideration that the birds can expand to well over four feet in size, and also generally take a trip in packs of as much as 10 individuals, their black wings so broad that, seeking out at a pack in trip, they briefly block out the sunlight.

Capable of living to 70 years in captivity, the birds are typically oddly human. Reproducing sets are always assisted by at least 2 various other animals (a kind of breeding apprenticeship that the hornbills have to undertake if they’re to effectively reproduce later on in life). Hatchlings hinge on their moms and dads for up to two years after birth, the lengthiest duration of any bird varieties. Even their faces seem anthropomorphized; they’re the only bird varieties to sport eyelashes.

The hornbill’s looks and habits are often strangely human

southern ground hornbill
Sean Brookes

These uncannily human traits, together with the flourishing, roaring calls the birds utilize to connect, make hornbills the emphasis of many misconceptions throughout Africa. Many cultures take into consideration the birds sacred. In these people, eliminating a hornbill is considered as tomb a transgression as murder, and also doing so will bring down a deluge so wonderful that it might wash your lands away in punishment.

Due to this idea– which is likely tied to the fact that in many regions, hornbills show up right before the long rains come– rain-doctors will often ritualistically kill the birds in times of dry spell, affixing a stone to the body and also tossing it into a stationary swimming pool in the river. According to misconception, the birds are so foul-smelling as well as unclean that they make the lakes and rivers ill; sending out rainfall is the only method the water could remove itself of these nasty animals, by cleaning them out to sea.

Besides being harbingers of rainfall (required or otherwise), the animals are thought about exact forecasters of wealth. The spots where they feed are thought to be the best locations to elevate cattle, and also are usually sought when new nation is being worked out.

If a hornbill lands near your house, nevertheless, beware: unless it’s quickly chased off, a member of the family makes certain to pass away (these beliefs could emerge partly as a result of the ground hornbill’s diet plan, which typically includes snakes; after a hornbill has visited pasture land, it might be safer for cattle, but seeing one near your home might suggest possible danger).

So are they good or bad? Should you prevent them from fear, or seek them as a resource of divine guidance?

Well that depends: just how much do you like your windows?

Modern Africans are less likely to refer mystical powers to the birds than their forefathers, yet one hornbill habits is doubtless detrimental to people: their lack of ability to identify their very own reflections.

If a hornbill sees itself mirrored in a home window, it will certainly strike, encouraged the representation is in reality another hornbill (no wonder individuals are so worried of them; their motto appears to be “attack first, determine if it’s a genuine risk later on). This has brought about more than a few frightening moments … as well as a lot of broken windows.

Which indicates the most effective way to make certain a hornbill brings you good fortune nowadays is to cover your windows with webs.

Southern Ground Hornbill


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