Wonderful Wildlife: Southern ground hornbill

There is nothing quite like the sound of the ground hornbill’s low, booming ‘dududu’ duet. These birds possess a large presence in every sense. Their tall black bodies and red faces teemed with their colossal curving bill make them exceptionally striking. 

The southern ground hornbill can be found throughout Zambia in savannas and woodlands. They live in groups of 3-8 birds and come nightfall, you can find the southern ground hornbill perched on a stout branch tucked up and roosting for the night. The fantastic extension of this giant’s birds wings displays their white flight feathers, an especially astounding sight when the ground hornbill partakes in aerial pursuits with neighbouring groups over territory. 

It may come as a surprise that southern ground hornbill is a carnivore, feeding on frogs, snails, reptiles and even mammals as large as the scrub hare. What’s more, these turkey-like birds are very rarely seen drinking. 

Quick facts:

  • They can grow up to 1.1 metres and weigh around 3.5 kgs.
  • Latin name: Bucorvus cafer
  • Females lay 2-3 eggs, which she then incubates for 40 days. During this time, her mate and other members of her group feed her. 
  • Southern ground hornbill’s are territorial. 

Our ethos isn’t #GetClose for nothing, Shenton Safaris is home to five very different, yet equally remarkable hides. Find out more by following this link.


Anna Mansfield

About Anna Mansfield

Anna Mansfield has written 84 post in this blog.

Anna is Shenton Safaris' Media Manager.

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