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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red-billed Hornbill

Afrikaans name: Rooibekneushoringvoƫl

Red-billed Hornbill

Red-billed Hornbill grooming

Photo Ā© Steven Herbert

Tockus rufirostris

Red-billed Hornbills are normally seen by themselves or in pairs. They may also occasionally be seen in a small flock, particularly outside of the breeding season. They eat a variety of foods including insects, spiders, scorpions, fruit and seeds. Most of their food is found on the ground and they can often be seen hopping along looking for food.

These Hornbills, like many others, use a cavity in a taller tree as a nest. When ready to lay her eggs, the female will enter the cavity and then seal it up with her own droppings, but she leaves a small slit through which the male will provide food for her. Normally she will lay around 3 to 5 eggs. The female incubates the eggs while the male continues to bring food. The chicks emerge from the nest after about 7 weeks.

The Red-billed Hornbill is sometimes referred to as the Southern Red-billed Hornbill outside of South Africa. This is to distinguish it from other 'red-billed' hornbills found elsewhere. This hornbill is not as common as its relative the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill. In South Africa they may be found in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal and across Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West provinces.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 104

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 98

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 44

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 130

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 411

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 398

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 395

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 268

List of South African Birds

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