The Abyssinian ground hornbill ranges throughout Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to northwestern Kenya and Ethiopia.
Open country, grasslands, sparse woodlands, savannas and forest edges.
- Ground hornbills are 31-42 inches (79-107 cm) in length.
- They weigh between six and a half and eight and a half pounds (3-4 kg).
- Males are slightly larger and heavier than females.
- They have a wingspan of up to six feet (1.8 m).
- Ground hornbills are largely black with white primary feathers.
- The base of their black bill is red or yellow. They have bare blue skin around the eye and a large, bare, red and/or blue inflatable throat pouch.
- A short, sharply angled casque surmounts the long, down-curved black bill.
What Does It Eat?
In the wild: These carnivorous birds eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs and insects. They may eat some fruit and seeds.
At the zoo: Ground hornbills eat a bird of prey diet, soaked dog chow, small rodents, baby chicks and insects. They are given grapes and crickets for treats.
What Eats It?
Ground hornbills are preyed on by large carnivores and other birds of prey.
Most hornbills are sedentary and live as mated pairs within a defended territory. This species also lives in small groups consisting of an adult pair with juvenile offspring.
Abyssinian ground hornbills initiate breeding with courtship feeding, beak slapping and inspection of the nest site. A solitary pair will nest near the ground in natural cavities, such as a large tree cavity, a rock face or in a hole dug into an earthen bank, but this species does not seal the hole, unlike other hornbill species. The female lays one or two eggs and incubates the eggs while the male brings her food. She emerges from the nest daily only to preen and defecate. The nesting period is between 80-90 days, while incubation is up to 45 days. Depending on the abundance of prey, chicks may have to compete for food and after a few days, one of the chicks may die due to lack of food. The remaining chick lives in the nest for another three months. After fledging, the chick is fed by its parents for an extra nine months. These birds do not reach sexual maturity until they are about four years old. Large hornbills can live 40-45 years in captivity.