The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Afrikaans name: Geelbek-neushoringvoël

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill tosses some tomato into the air at a picnic spot in Kruger National Park

A Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill eating leftover tomato at a picnic site in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Tockus leucomelas

Any visitor to a bushveld game reserve like Kruger National Park will be familiar with the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill. They are common in camps and picnic sites and are always looking for a bit of leftover food.

The yellow bill of this species is distinctive making it easy to identify.

Males and females look similar but the casque on the bill of the female is smaller.

The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill nests in holes in trees where up to 4 eggs may be laid. The female incubates the eggs for around 25 days.

Besides being on the lookout for leftover human food they eat insects, spiders, scorpions and seeds.

Their preferred habitats are woodland and dry thornveld.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill on a table at Afsaal Picnic Site in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above and below - The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is not shy around humans - especially when there is the prospect of food around. In Kruger National Park they are common around picnic and camp sites.

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill on a braai at Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wild Issue 38 - Author: - Published: 2017 - Page: 73

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 130

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 143

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 174

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 174

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 266

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 260

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 399

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 395

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 303

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 8

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 290

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 258

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 71

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 258

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 186

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 153

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 130

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 44

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 170

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 138

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 105

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 98

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 105

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 184


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