The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

African Grey Hornbill

Afrikaans name: Grysneushoringvoël

African Grey Hornbill in Kruger National Park

African Grey Hornbill

Photo © Steven Herbert

Tockus nasutus

African Grey Hornbill behaviour

This hornbill certainly knows how to draw attention to itself! It will perch on an exposed perch and give its loud “piping" call. They are most often seen singly. Their flight is rather undulating.

African Grey Hornbill appearance

Male and female have similar plumage, but the bill of the male is black and that of the female is reddish on the tip. They reach a length of around 45 cm which is quite small when compared to other hornbills. African Grey Hornbills weigh around 150 grams.

African Grey Hornbill diet

From rats to peanuts I think that this bird eats everything it comes across! Items recorded in its diet are rodents, insects, spiders, frogs, fruit and, of course, peanuts. Most often they will fly from tree to tree and see what food it can find before moving on. They will, however, also go to ground and hunt for food there.

African Grey Hornbill breeding

These birds don’t make their own nest holes. They prefer natural cavities in trees or occasionally, disused barbet nests. The female enters the cavity when she is ready to lay her eggs and seals up most of the entrance hole, leaving a small slit which will allow the male to provide her with food. It can take her up to 10 days to lay her 3 to 5 eggs. Once the chicks are around 3 weeks old the female leaves the nest, and the chicks reseal the entrance. They are then fed by the parents. The chicks leave the nest when ready to fly.

African Grey Hornbill in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert



African Grey Hornbill distribution and habitat

Although it is not as common as the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, it is common and widespread over much of sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa it is found, in suitable habitat, over most of the northern and north-eastern parts of the country. Their preferred habitats are woodland, thornveld and savanna.

References and further reading

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: 173

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 258

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 302

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 397

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 394

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 287

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

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 184

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

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 27

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 70

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

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 182

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

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 152

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 169

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

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 97

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 104

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 104

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 182


Top

List of South African Birds

Got a comment about the content on this page?





Copyright Steven Herbert Projects, 2013 - 2022. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy - FAQ - Terms of use