photography by Amit Dutta

African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)

African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus) Canon EOS 40D | 200 mm | 1/640 sec | f/5.6 | 400
 
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Genus: Tockus
Species: T. nasutus

Identification
The African Grey Hornbill is a widespread and common resident breeder in much of sub-Saharan Africa and into Arabia. This species is a large bird, at 45cm in length, but is one of the smaller hornbills. It has mainly grey plumage, with the head, flight feathers and long tail being a darker shade. There is a white line down each side of the head and one on the back which is visible only in flight. The long curved bill is black and has a small casque and a creamy horizontal stripe.

The male has a black bill, whereas the female has red on the mandibles. The plumage of the male and female is similar. Immature birds are more uniformly grey. The flight is undulating. The similarly sized Red-billed Hornbill has uniformly grey plumage.

Habitat
This is a bird mainly of open woodland and savannah. The female lays two to four white eggs in a tree hollow, which is blocked off during incubation with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, just big enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks.

The African Grey Hornbill is omnivorous, taking insects, fruit and reptiles. It feeds mainly in trees.

Location
Kruger National Park, South Africa (August 2011)
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)Swainson's Spurfowl (Pternistis swainsonii)
Share on Facebook