Southern Ground Hornbill

Bucorvus leadbeateri

These large hornbills spend most of their time on the ground. They live in co-operative family groups, from 2 – 11 in number, foraging and hunting together. There is a dominant pair and they will be the only ones to breed, although the rest of the group helps with chick rearing and protection. 

The female lays two eggs, the second being smaller and some times laid five days after the first egg. This is a safeguard in case the first does not hatch or the chick dies when hatching. If the second egg hatches and the first chick is healthy then the second chick will not be strong enough to compete for food against its larger sibling and will die.

Diet: Small mammals, snakes, lizards, insects, birds etc. 

Distribution: African savannah south of the equator

Status in the wild: Vulnerable – mainly habitat destruction.

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