African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)

female Grey Hornbill

female Grey Hornbill

The African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus) occurs almost throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Generally, female and male birds look very similar having a dark grey to black plumage. Nevertheless, you can identify the sex by looking at their bills with the female showing a conspicuous red tip. A characteristic behaviour for hornbills is displayed during breeding time: The female lays two to four eggs in a tree cavity which is then sealed off by the male using a cement of mud, droppings, and fruit pulp. Only a small hole is left allowing the male to feed its partner. After the chicks hatched the female breaks the wall and leaves the nest. However, it will immediately rebuilt the wall and continue feeding the offspring together with its partner. This way, the young ones are kept safe from potential predators. Clever birds! I have photographed these hornbills in the Etosha National Park in northern Namibia during February 2007.

female Grey Hornbill

female Grey Hornbill

male Grey Hornbill

male Grey Hornbill

6 responses to “African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)

  1. Interesting bird….love the diversity around the planet!! Love birds in my area but I’d love to see the birds of other areas also.

  2. Pingback: Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) | wildlife weeks·

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