Uganda Birds: Abyssinian Ground Hornbills

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

How to Identify Abyssinian Ground Hornbills

They are among the species of ground hornbills an endemic family of a typical pedestrian hornbills adapted to ground dwelling, and thats how they get their name.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbills are Africa’s most engaging birds living in close knit co-operative family groups. Unlike the other types of hornbills these ones do not seal their nests and walk over large distances to feed. They fly to the trees in case of danger or to breed.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbills

Characteristics of the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbills are over 1m tall around 110cm, very heavily built shaggy looking with black feathering and white under wings,blue and red face patches and long eyelashes.

The male adult bird has; a larger bill topped with an open casque, a pale yellowish patch at base of upper mandible and, a blue-red skin around the eye and on the throat. The female is slightly smaller and has a reduced casque, the eye skin and wattle is entirely blue. The immature bird is brownish black with a poorly formed casque, small grayish wattle. When these birds fly, they reveal striking white primary feathers.

Where to find them

You will find these birds largely woodland species and predominantly terrestrial in nature. In Uganda they are common savanna residents in Murchison Falls and Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Usually you will find the Abyssinian Ground Hornbills within their habitats in pairs and family groups with strong vocals.