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AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime

   
     
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Ground Hornbill

Although an endangered species, the Southern Ground Hornbill is seen from Kenya south  throughout southern Africa.   Its preferred habitats are grasslands, woodland and savannah. The male Southern Ground Hornbill has a magnificent red wattle (throat pouch). When calling, these wattles are inflated,   producing a "lion-like" sound which carries for quite a distance and is sometimes heard as a duet at dawn between pairs.  They have a very large keratin casque on top of its head which is believed to vibrate and amplify its call.

The Southern Ground Hornbill is a gigantic bird, and is the largest of the hornbill species. The male can grow to a height of 4 feet,  attaining a weight of up to 15 pounds.  Other than the wattle, the bird appears black in color.  They are very territorial, with the entire family group of up to 10 individuals protecting a territory which can be many square miles. They are monogamous, pairing for their 30 - 40 year  lives, unless their mate dies.  These hornbills have one of the slowest reproductive rates in the bird kingdom, producing only one chick approximately every 9 years.

Ground Hornbill
The Southern Ground Hornbill has very strong legs and spends most of the day walking along the ground looking for food, occasionally running after their prey. They will eat reptiles, frogs, birds, snakes and large insects, using their sharp bills to stab their quarry. The hornbills are often seen walking with impala, zebra and other grazing animals, catching food which has been flushed out. At night they will roost in trees or on high rocks.  
     
     
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