Appearance There are 12 species of Hornbill found in Kenya; Abyssinian Hornbill, 43" (109cm); African Grey Hornbill, 20" (51cm); Black & White Casqued Hornbill, 29" (74cm); Crowned Hornbill, 21.5" (55cm); Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, 20" (51cm); Hemprich's Hornbill, 23" (59cm); Jackson's Hornbill, 19" (48cm); Red-billed Hornbill, 18" (45cm); Silvery-cheeked Hornbill 28" (71cm); Southern Ground Hornbill, 42" (107cm); Trumpeter Hornbill, 23.5" (60cm); Von der Decken's Hornbill, 19" (48cm). All above are of the family Bucorvidae, except the 2 Ground Hornbills from the family Bucorvidae. Hornbills generally are a medium-sized bird with short legs and 'casques' or ridges on top of their downward-curved bills. The large casques are hollow, reducing their weight. Usually black and white birds, with faces, throats and bills of varying colours. Their wings are short, but tails are long. When they do fly, a lot of 'whooshing' wing-flapping is involved, then gliding. All have long eyelashes.
Habits When laying eggs, female Hornbills, except the Ground Hornbills, seal themselves in their tree or cliff nest with mud and excrement. A small hole is left for the passage of food and excrement. The male feeds his mate and the chicks for several weeks, until space becomes crowded inside the nest. The female emerges and the chicks seal themselves back inside, until they are larger.
Diet Bucerotidae Hornbills are omnivorous, eating both animal and plant matter. Some favour fruit, others, insects and small vertebrates. Bucorvidae Hornbills are carniverous birds, tossing their prey into the air, catching it in an open bill.
Resident Hornbills are seen all over Kenya, some favouring woodlands and forests, others savanna and grasslands and the remainder dry and semi-arid areas.
Extra Hornbill Facts Hornbills are noisy birds, both on the ground and in flight. The smaller Bucorvidae family have a monotonous 'cluck', while the larger Bucorvidae family are distinctly audible, with grunts, bugle sounds and even a laugh.
Photographs Photographed at Kenya's Masai Mara, Meru NP, Olare Orok Conservancy, Shimba Hills NP and Tsavo East NP.