Abyssinian Ground-hornbills

Abyssinian Ground-hornbills (Bucorvus abyssinicus)

The Abyssinian Ground-hornbills or Northern Ground-hornbills (Bucorvus abyssinicus) are ground-hornbills found north of the equator in Subsaharan Africa, where they inhabit steppes, savannas and woodland.

This species is considered “vulnerable” and is only found in reserves.

Abyssinian Ground-hornbills on the Ground
Abyssinian Ground-hornbills on the Ground

They are diurnal (active in the daytime) and are usually found in pairs or small groups.

In captivity, they can live 35-40 years.


The Abyssinian ground-hornbill weighs about three kilograms and has long bare legs for walking.

The male has a red throat pouch and the female has a blue throat pouch. Modified feathers form long eyelashes, which protect their eyes from dust.

Diet / Feeding

They forage on a wide variety of small vertebrates and invertebrates, including amphibians, mammals, birds, tortoises, lizards, spiders, beetles, and caterpillars. They also take carrion (the flesh of dead animals).

Additionally, they feed on some fruits, seeds, and groundnuts.


They start breeding when they are about four years old. The average clutch consists of two eggs, which the female incubates for about a month.

The Abyssinian Ground-hornbill Looking for Food
The Abyssinian Ground-hornbill Looking for Food

Once the young hatch, the older chick usually competes with the younger one for feedings and the younger one in most cases starves to death. The surviving chick will remain in the nest for another three months and continue to be fed by its parents after fledging for another nine months.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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