Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus) is a large terrestrial bird. It is also known as the Northern Ground Hornbill. 

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill has black feathers with white primary feathers. The male has a patch of blue featherless skin around its eyes and an inflatable patch of bare red skin on its neck and throat. Its beak is long and black with a reddish base. On top of its beak is a black hard structure called a casque. The female is similar to the male, but with dark blue bare skin. Both the male and the female have long eye feathers that look like eyelashes. 

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

It measures 90-110 centimetres (35-43 inches) tall. 

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill is native to Africa, in countries north of the Equator, mainly in Senegal, Guinea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. 

It prefers open habitats, such as savannahs, rocky areas, and sub-desert scrublands. 

It is diurnal, active during the day. It does not fly much, preferring to walk along the ground. It is terrestrial (living on the ground). 

It eats tortoises, lizards, snakes, birds, spiders, beetles, caterpillars, fruit, nuts, seeds, and the meat of dead animals. 

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill is mainly seen in pairs or in small family groups. 

The male builds a nest in cavities in rocks and trees, using mud and vegetation. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which hatch after 37-41 days. 

The chicks are sooty-brown with a smaller beak. As the chicks grow, they become darker and the bare skin colour developes. The chicks are independent after 80-90 days. 

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill lives, on average, for 35-40 years. 

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

[Location of photographs: Berlin Zoo, Germany]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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