Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Northern Red-Billed Hornbill

The red-billed hornbill was previously thought to be one species, but it has now been separated into five separate species: the northern red-billed hornbill, the western red-billed hornbill, the Tanzanian red-billed hornbill, the southern red-billed hornbill and the Damara red-billed hornbill. We encountered the northern red-billed hornbill, primarily in Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves. Its range extends from Mauritania through Somalia and down through northeast Tanzania. The northern bird is characterized by a black stripe on the back of its head, reddish ocular skin and dark eyes. 
This red-billed hornbill shows the reddish ocular area. Photo by Michael Lewin. 
Photo by Mark Edwards.
All red-billed hornbills have a relatively narrow red bill, without a casque, a face that is mainly white, white underparts, black back and tail and large white spots on the shoulders. 
Photo by Michael Lewin.
It generally forages on open ground in areas that have been heavily grazed. It digs in the ground with its bill for dung beetle larvae and also eats large insects, centipedes and scorpions. 
Photo by Steven Shuel.


  1. Yet another bird who looks like he's a creation straight from Pixar studios. He's quite handsome.

    1. Zazu, in the Lion King, is a red-billed hornbill. So it has already found its place in animation.

  2. Amazing variety in just these four pictures.