Southern Ground-Hornbill

Because of our chick this month, we’ve chosen the Southern Ground-Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) as our species of the month!

Listed as Vulnerable in South Africa, with a population estimate of only 1500-2000 birds across the country, this is a special rarity for us to study and enjoy.

Southern Ground-Hornbills tend to live in groups of 3-5 individuals, consisting of one breeding pair with previous broods staying on as helpers for a few years.

Nests are usually large hole nests in trees, and although more than one chick may hatch, usually only the first-hatched chick survives as it starves the other chick(s) of food in the nest.

Adult males have red throat skin, while females have a blue chin patch. The full adult colouration only shows after 4-6 years - before this they are yellow-orange or black.

Let us know if you see them, please - we are actively monitoring them!


Words by Tess Woollgar, images © Simoneemanphotos via


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