|At a Glance|
|Mass||0.45 - 1.0kg|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
The Trumpeter Hornbill, Bycanistes bucinator, is a medium-sized hornbill, with length between 58 and 65 cm, characterized by a large grey casque on the bill, smaller in females. The eyes are brown or red, with pink surrounding skin. Distinguishing features include an all-black back, white belly and white underwing coverts (in flight, wings present white tips), and red facial skin.
It is easily distinguished from the other hornbill in our area which is the Crowned Hornbill (Tockus alboterminatus) due to the very large “casque” on top of the beak. The two species have very similar distribution and behaviour.
The Trumpeter Hornbill is a gregarious bird, usually living in groups of 2 to 5 individuals, although sometimes as many as 50. They have a very distinctive and very loud cry often sounding like a crying baby.
Trumpeter Hornbills feeds on fruits and large insects and have often been spotted eating millipedes in Krantzkloof.
The Trumpeter Hornbill normally uses natural holes in trees as nesting sites. Once a site has been selected the female then seals it with mud and faeces collected by the male, leaving a small slit. It sometimes uses holes in rock faces, although not often.
Egg-laying season is from September-January, peaking from October-November.
It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for roughly 24 days. The male forages for the female, giving food to her through the entrance slit.
The chicks stay in the nest for at least 50 days, remaining near the nest for about a week before joining the parents in foraging flights. The female stays in the nest from when the eggs are laid to when the chicks fledge, a period of about 94 days!
This hornbill is a locally common resident of the tropical evergreen forests of Burundi, Mozambique, Botswana, Congo, Kenya, the Caprivi strip of Namibia and eastern South Africa.
It generally prefers warm coastal lowland forest, often near watercourses, although often flying across other habitats on its way to new forest patches.
Not threatened other than by land transformation resulting in habitat loss.
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve
The Trumpeter Hornbills are very common in Krantzkloof and they can be seen flying in flocks out of the reserve in the morning and returning in the evening. They are found in most parts of the reserve but more commonly can be seen near the cliff faces.
The Crowned Hornbills are more often spotted in the open areas or close to the forest edges.
The Trumpeter Hornbills are frequent visitors to the park and can often be seen feeding on the fruit bearing trees such as the Waterberry's
Trumpeter Hornbills are very common in Kloof homes where they have the habit of banging their large bills on windows presumably in a display of aggression against their own reflected image!