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Safari Africa Animal Fact Sheet
SOUTHERN GROUND HORNBILL
Bucorvus leadbeateri

Range:
Sub-Equatorial Africa

Most of the day is spent walking with stubby toes elevated so they look like they are almost on tip-toe. Live in groups of 4-5, but may range from 2-12. Usually with a single female and other adult males, and immature offspring of both sexes.

They lack a carotid artery (main arteries carrying blood to the neck and head). This is unique among all birds.





Habitat: Woodlands, savannas, grasslands
Diet: Natural diet, insects, small mammals, snakes, some vegetation, and possibly scavenges
Status: Vulnerable (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

About 3 ft. high. Legs longer than any other hornbill. Are largest of the 58 species of hornbills. Only show their unusually all-white primary feathers when they take flight. Females have a dark blue-violet patch on the red throat skin. Males have all red facial skin.

Lifespan: 30-40 years in the wild; about 60 years in captivity.
Reproduction & Offspring: Breed as a cooperative group. Are one of only two hornbill species (the other is the Abyssian Ground Hornbill) that do not seal nest entrance. All of the group assists in feeding the young. When gathering food to take back to the nest they will carry a beak full of insects, or other prey, around which they will carefully put to one side if they spot another tasty morsel. They will pick up the new delicacy, then carefully rearrange all the food items on the ground before picking them all up again. Wattles can be inflated and used to make booming or grunting sounds, often just before dawn. Lay 2 white eggs in a cavity, the first egg hatches 3-5 days before the second and the first chick will always out-compete the second, which always dies.

 

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