Southern Ground Hornbill

AnimalSouthern ground hornbills
Scientific NameBucorvus leadbeateri
LifespanUp to 70 years (captive)
Size.9 m
Weight2.2 – 4 kg
Conservation statusLeast concern > Near threatened >
Vulnerable > Endangered >
Critically endangered > Extinct in the wild >

The southern ground hornbill, the largest hornbill species, has an impressive 1.2-meter wingspan and can fly at 28.9 kilometers per hour. They have a wattle (throat) which can make really loud noises that sound similar to lion roars. They can be found in southern Africa and live in flocks of two to nine hornbills.

Image by kryshenley from Pixabay A female, which can be identified by the violet-blue throat.

It is possible to figure out the gender of the hornbill by looking at its wattle. Females’ have some spots of violet-blue, while males’ are completely covered in red. To the left and at the top of the page you could see an image of a female’s purplish throat.

A southern ground hornbill’s relationship is monogamous, meaning that they only have one mate. Their groups consist of many male birds taking care of the chicks and guarding territory, and also a dominant male and female which are the only members that breed. Females lay one to three eggs consecutively, but usually, just a single one survives and hatches.

Similar to the great hornbill, the southern ground hornbill is hunted for medicinal purposes, even though it’s not proven that the flesh heals people. Another reason that they are endangered is that they are well-known for breaking windows trying to attack their reflections, making people want to poison them.

Unlike great hornbills, the southern ground hornbill is not a herbivore, but a carnivore. They can usually be found with their groups walking along the floor in search of food, generally consisting of lizards, snakes, insects, toads, and even tortoises.


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