Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus flavirostris)
The Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill is a large, 20" (51cm) bird, unique amongst Kenyan Hornbills, with its heavy yellow bill. A black and white bird, similar to the Red-billed Hornbill, but with a distinctive black band at the end of its tail, which is otherwise spotted with white. They have white heads, with grey ear coverts and a black crown and nape. The underparts are white. They have yellow eyes, with dark rings around them.
The male Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill has a pink-red patch on his throat. The female's throat patch is black and her bill is smaller.
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbills mate for life and are usually seen in pairs, or with offspring, in small family groups. When breeding, the female, with the help of her mate, is sealed inside the cavity of a tree, using mud and excrement. A small hole is left, through which, the male passes food. He carries out this duty until a couple of weeks after the chicks are hatched. The female and her chicks eject excrement through the hole. The female moults during this process and then lets herself out of the hole, which is again sealed up, until the chicks grow larger.
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbills are omnivorous, normally foraging on the ground, eating insects, seeds, fallen fruit, small animals and reptiles and will on occasion tackle a snake. It has a habit of picking up its food, flicking it into the air and catching it in its bill, swallowing it whole.
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbills are uncommonly found below 2000 metres, in Kenya's more arid areas in the west of the country.
Due to the shape and colour of their bills, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbills have earned the nickname "the flying banana".
Photographed in Kenya's Kora National Park.
Keywords:bird, eastern yellow-billed hornbill, flying banana, hornbill, kenya, kora national park, wildlife, yellow-billed hornbill