Southern Ground Hornbill

Bucorvus leadbeateri

Fascinating Facts

Physical Characteristics

Southern ground-hornbill is the largest of Hornbill species of Asia, India and Africa. It has black plumage and typical red-facial skin. It is a large black bird, with white flight feathers, conspicuous in flight.

It has bright red face and bare inflatable throat patches. Eyes are pale grey green. Bill is powerful and black. It is great curved with a kind of hollow casque above, probably playing some role in displays or male selection. This casque is more developed in males than females. Legs and feet are strong and black.


The Southern ground-hornbill occurs from Kenya and the DRC to southern Africa, where it is widespread but fairly scarce in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo Province and northern Namibia. It generally prefers grassland and savanna woodland habitats.

Mainly eats animals, such as insects, frogs, mongooses and bird nestlings.

Social Behavior

They are able to fly, but spend the majority of their time on the ground. They hunt in groups by walking (instead of hopping), probing, pecking, and digging at the ground.

These birds live in cooperative breeding groups made up of a dominant pair and several subordinate adult males. This dominant pair successfully breeds only once every nine years, with only one surviving chick per nest.

Status In The Wild

This the species is classed as Least Concern.


The ground hornbill is across from the koalas and the chimpanzees.

Animals & Exhibits