Category: Hornbills

Southern yellow-billed hornbills perched together in Kruger National Park, South Africa.


This prehistoric looking hornbill slowly flew across the sky in Murchison Falls National Park.

These prehistoric looking birds have historically been difficult for me to get close enough for decent photographs but I have seen them on numerous safaris in Kenya and Uganda. However, this family of three consisting of 2 adults and a juvenile were walking along just adjacent to the road between Satara and Olifants camps in Kruger National Park.  They didn’t seem to be bothered at all that we were there and they continued to search for food.  They are opportunistic in what they eat which can include insects, lizards, snakes and even hare. When they catch something small enough to shallow whole, they first toss it up into the air like a piece of popcorn before consuming it.

This photo of a juvenile ground hornbill shows a bit of their playful personality. Just prior to taking this photo the bird walked up to this torn apart tree (compliments of a hungry elephant) and grabbed at a piece of the bark. It pulled back and forth and  jumped up and down until it was able to rip a piece  off the tree.  As if to show off it’s accomplishment it flew up onto the tree with the piece of bark still in it’s beak. However, it quickly lost interest and after pausing for a few seconds it tossed the bark up into the air, jumped down and went back to foraging for food.

In between searching for food this hornbill briefly looked up above the dried grasses to survey the open savannah. I snapped off a few photos and this by far was my favorite.