photography by Amit Dutta

Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus)

Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) 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. erythrorhynchus

Identification
Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) is a relatively small species of hornbill. This conspicuous bird has mainly whitish underparts and head, and grey upperparts. It has a long tail and a long and curved red bill which lacks a casque. Sexes are similar, but the female has a smaller bill. It is a large bird, at 42 cm long, but is one of the smaller hornbills. It advertises its presence with its noisy accelerating tok-tok-tok-toktoktok call.

Habitat
This is a bird mainly found in savanna and woodland of sub-Saharan Africa. During incubation, the female lays three to six white eggs in a tree hole, which is blocked off with a plaster 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. When the chicks and the female are too big to fit in the nest, the mother breaks out and rebuilds the wall, then both parents feed the chicks.

This species is omnivorous, taking insects, fruit and seeds. It feeds mainly on the ground and will form flocks outside the breeding season.

Location
Kruger National Park, South Africa (August 2011)
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)Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
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