Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.

Gotto love these little fellows. While staying at Bushbuck I had a family of them living near me. The chicks had just left the nest so I had five of them hopping around. After a few weeks mom, dad and one chick left the area. The two that stayed use to bang on my glass patio door, just after first light, and collect all the dead insects on the patio. The most interesting thing about Hornbills is the way they breed.

Wikipedia says:

The nests are placed in natural cavities in trees, cliffs or earth banks between 1 and 12 meters from the ground. The male then proceeds to bring bark, leaves and grass which will be put on the bottom of the nest. During this time, the female will seal herself inside the nest by blocking the entry with a wall made from her droppings and food remains The male will help by bringing mud for her to work with.

The only opening left is a vertical slit from the top to the bottom. The male passes the food through the slit with his beak. The female and chick droppings are forcibly expelled through the slit as well. The vertical slit provides good air circulation through convection and when coupled with the wooden walls, it provides a good insulation.

Nests usually contain 2-6 eggs and take about 24 days to hatch. The eggs are white, oval and have finely pitted shells.[2] The chicks are born naked and with pink skin. They and the female are fed by the male who brings back food and drops it through the slit. Most nests will also have a long escape tunnel in case a predator breaks in the nest to eat them.

Taking advantage of the fact that she is imprisoned; the female will shed all of her flight and tail feathers simultaneously and regrow them in during the time she stays with the chicks. Once the chicks are half-grown, the female will break out of the nest in order to help the male. The chicks will rebuild the wall themselves and continue to be fed through the slits by the parents. Once the chicks are fully grown, they will break out of the nest and start flying.


You can find a story here:


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2 Responses to “Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.”

  1. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

  2. The Lilac-breasted Roller | One Man's Opinion Blog Says:

    […] Source: Botswana Birds […]

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