Introduction: A dry, open Acacia savannah and stands of low bushveld are the most common habitats for the yellow-billed hornbill (Tockus leucomelas). These birds are usually seen in pairs or small family groups, running around on the ground, hopping into low bushes and small trees with a raised tail. Roosting against tree trunks, early morning basking, preening and later afternoon dust-bathing are features of this hornbill.

Distribution: North and central Namibia including Etosha National Park, Windhoek, Erongo Mountains, Brandberg, Spitzkoppe, Caprivi extending east to Victoria Falls. Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Makgadikgadi National Park.

Diet: Red-billed quelea nestlings, rodents, snakes, birds' eggs, ants and termites, chameleons, crickets, beetles, centipedes and scorpions. Fruit and seeds are also included in their diet.

Description: Predominately white and black coloured plumage (leacomelas is white and black in Latin) with a grey head and neck and characteristic yellow bill. Often confused with red-billed and Damara hornbills with similar calls and plumage.

Breeding: 3 or 4 eggs are laid between September and March. Incubation periods are 24 days. Chicks are sometimes preyed on by chacma baboon and rock monitors.

Size: 40 to 60cm.

Weight: 210g.

Birds of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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