STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
RANGE: East Africa
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Von der Decken’s hornbills are a small hornbill species, reaching up to two feet in length, with large, often colorful beaks and long eyelashes. Males have cream and red bills while females have solid black bills. Most of the upper parts of these hornbills, such as their backs and wings, are black, while their undersides and faces tend to be white. They have short, broad, and rounded wings that are beneficial for short flights but not for long intervals of flight. They have a lifespan of up to twenty years.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
These hornbills are diurnal. They feed mostly on the ground. When it isn’t breeding season, they live in flocks.
They nest in tree cavities and work together collecting mud and other things to partially close the opening in the cavity until the female can just fit through the opening. The male will continue to seal her into the cavity while she helps from inside. For the next two months, the male is responsible for feeding his mate and offspring. The female lays two to three eggs that incubate for about thirty-three days before they hatch. Once the chicks are twenty-five days old, the female will break out of the cavity and help the offspring reseal it. They will break out of it themselves at about fifty days old.
These hornbills are found in East Africa in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania.
Typically, they are found in shrub lands, savannas and other arid environments.
These birds eat a variety of prey, such as arthropods, insects, fruits, eggs, and other small ground prey.