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Bucorvidae – Ground-Hornbills

Southern Ground-Hornbill in Kenya: Photo by Dorian Anderson

Bucorvidae, commonly known as ground hornbills, are a family of large, terrestrial birds found in Africa. These striking birds are known for their distinctively shaped bills and bare facial skin patches. Ground hornbills are carnivorous, feeding primarily on insects, small vertebrates, and occasionally fruits. They are often seen foraging on the ground in savannas and grasslands, using their powerful bills to probe for prey. Ground hornbills are also known for their unique social structure, living in family groups consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring, with cooperative breeding behaviors observed among group members.

Overview of Bucorvidae

Resembling an intriguing blend of a toucan and a turkey, ground-hornbills are substantial terrestrial birds that roam the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. These birds exhibit a unique social structure, often living in small familial groups and engaging in cooperative breeding, making them the largest birds known for this behavior. Despite their cultural significance in some regions, ground-hornbills face challenges, as they are occasionally regarded as pests due to their tendency to attack their reflections in windows, yet in many cultures, they are revered symbols associated with the arrival of rain.