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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Southern Ground Hornbill

Afrikaans name: Bromvoël

Southern Ground Hornbill in Kruger National Park

Southern Ground Hornbill in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bucorvus leadbeateri

The Southern Ground Hornbill is a large bird that can weigh up to 6 kg. In fact it is the largest species of hornbill.

Some people are surprised to find out that the Ground Hornbill can fly. It does, however, spend most of its time on the ground looking for food.

Males are larger than females and all the bare skin on their throats and faces is red while the female is red with some bluish skin on the throat below the bill. Juveniles have yellow skin.

The Southern Ground Hornbill eats a variety of foods including reptiles, insects, amphibians and small mammals.

They live in small groups and may often be seen walking along side roads in game parks like Kruger National Park. Southern Ground Hornbills are quite capable of flying but you tend to see them on the ground. They stroll around in small family groups looking for food on the ground.

Southern Ground Hornbills make their nests in large hollows in trees. The breeding pair need assistance from other birds in the group to successfully raise their chicks.

A Southern Ground Hornbill putting its large bill to good use

Above - They put their large bills to good use

Photo © Steven Herbert

Portrait of Southern Ground Hornbill

Above - Portrait of a Southern Ground Hornbill

Photo © Steven Herbert


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 105

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

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 58

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 45

Country Life - Issue 266 - Author: - Year Published: 2018 - Page: 60

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 152

go! - Issue 130 - Author: - Year Published: 2017 - Page: 27

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 262

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: 402

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 399

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 266

Village Life Issue 23 - Author: - Year Published: 2007 - Page: 48

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 130

List of South African Birds

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