photography by Amit Dutta

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas)

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) Canon EOS 40D | 420 mm | 1/640 sec | f/9 | 400
 
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Genus: Tockus
Species: T. leucomelas

Identification
The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) is a Hornbill found in southern Africa. It is a medium sized bird, with length between 48 to 60 cm, characterized by a long yellow beak with a casque (casque reduced in the female). The skin around the eyes and in the malar stripe is pinkish. The related Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill from north-eastern Africa has blackish skin around the eyes.

They have a white belly, grey neck, and black back with abundant white spots and stripes

Habitat
They feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. Termites and ants are a preferred food source in the dry season.

Females lay 3 to 4 white eggs in their nest cavities and incubate them for about 25 days. Juveniles take about 45 days to mature. This hornbill is a common, widespread resident of the dry thorn fields and broad-leafed woodlands. Frequently they can be sighted along roads.

Location
Kruger National Park, South Africa (August 2011)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis)Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas)African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus)Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)
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