Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eastern Yellow-Billed Hornbill

There are two species of yellow-billed hornbills: the southern and the eastern. The primary difference is that the southern yellow-billed hornbill has a pinkish malar stripe (area between the eyes and nose) and pinkish skin around the eyes and the eastern yellow-billed hornbill, also known as the northern yellow-billed hornbill, is black in those areas. The eastern bird, the one we saw, is found in Eastern Africa in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti. This hornbill has a yellow bill with black cutting edges, a black crown and white patches on its black wings. The male has pink bare skin patches on its neck and the female's bare patches are black. The patches on the bird in the photo are purples, so I'm not sure if it is a male or female.

Its eating habits are similar to the red-billed hornbill, walking on the ground foraging for food, turning over rocks and logs with its bill, and finding and eating birds eggs, rodents, large insects, fruit and seeds.

We saw several of these hornbills, particularly one right near the Serena Shaba Lodge. However, I was not able to get a good photo. This photo is from Steven Shuel who was part of our tour group.
Eastern yellow-billed hornbill. 


  1. I'm not sure how he prevents himself from falling on his face with that oversized beak.

  2. Polka dot wings, purple throat patch, fluorescent beak--this guy is styling.