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Hornbill, Southern Ground

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Unread postby Owl » Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:29 pm

All of the forum goers who've seen Ground Hornbills in Kruger, Mapungubwe, Marakele or any other National Park (some were recorded in Addo earlier this year in the grassland area near Alexandria Forest) should send their information to the Ground Hornbill Project (details under Information for: Birders).

A quick email to Anne Turner, the projects champion will let anyone know about the status of these birds in Kruger which are under severe threat.

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Unread postby bwana » Fri Jul 08, 2005 1:09 pm

I forgot to mention in my report back that we came across a pair of ground hornbills attacking a tortoise and got it on video. They alternated between using there beaks as a sledgehammer and picking it up by one of its legs and flinging it to the ground. It was quite violent but interesting to watch nevertheless.

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Unread postby Wiggie » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:31 pm

Due to the interest and the number of responses that Wildtuinman got for his topic on Ground Hornbills, I thought I'd make mention of the Ground Hornbill Project, which is one of the projects that the West Rand Honorary Rangers are involved in.
It involves the harvesting of the second chick, then hand rearing it and later releasing it back into the wild.
Ground Hornbill numbers have declined considerably, with about 1500 birds left in SA, and about 700 of those in Kruger.
The main reason for this decline is that they're losing their habitat, plus they breed at a very slow rate.
Only the Alpha Female lays, and then only 2 eggs approximately every 9 years.
They hatch 3 - 5 days apart, and as the older one is much stronger by the time the second chick hatches, it outperforms its younger sibling by taking all the food, which is not given to each bird, but left for them by the mother.
The result is that the younger chick starves to death.
It's at about this time of the year that nests are raided by project members and the younger chicks removed, and taken away to be hand reared.
Have a look at the Project Website http://www.groundhornbill.org.za.
Last edited by Wiggie on Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby DebM » Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:52 pm

Saw three groups when in Kruger Nov/Dec, S28, H12 & H7.


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Unread postby francoisd » Mon Mar 06, 2006 1:21 pm

Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

Visit the Ground Hornbill Project to add your sightings of this bird

Alternate common name(s) as used in other areas:
Ground Hornbill, African Ground Hornbill

Other names:
Afrikaans: Bromvoël
French: Bucorve du Sud, Calao terrestre, Calao terrestre du sud
German: Kaffernhornrabe
Dutch: Zuidelijke Hoornraaf
Swahili name for hornbill: Filimbi

The ground hornbills are the only ground dwellers among hornbills. They travel in groups which normally consist of the dominant male and his mate along with a number of, usually, related birds. These act as helpers and assist in feeding the young. The birds feed on insects and small reptiles and mammals. They are quite fascinating to watch, having a very stately, deliberate gait and rather superior "expression". When gathering food to take back to their nest they will carry a beak full of insects around which they will carefully put to one side if they spot another tasty morsel (perhaps a large spider or grasshopper). They will pick up the new delicacy, then carefully rearrange all the food items on the ground before picking them back up and stalking away.

In South Africa there has been a large decline in their numbers for a number of reasons. They are popular to use as "muti" or tribal medicine among some of the indigenous people of South Africa. The brain of a ground hornbill, if kept in a village, is reputed to bring the village luck. Irate homeowners kill them because they will attack windows, breaking them, if they encounter their reflections. They are also vulnerable to picking up poison baits that are set out for predators.

Diet:
The African ground hornbill's food consists largely of small vertebrates and larger insects, although they sometimes use their pick-like bills to subdue prey as large as hares, tortoises, snakes and squirrels.

Reproduction and growth:
Ground hornbills are slow breeding and do not reach maturity until they are 4 years old and then only one pair from each group breeds. Also, Ground hornbills need thick trees for their nests. They are the only hornbills which do not wall in their nest holes. The female does not seal the nest although she sits throughout incubation and is fed in the nest by the male. She also does not completely molt as smaller hornbill species do. She molts in steps so that she is still able to fly.

The clutch consist of two eggs and is incubated by the female for about a month. Only one baby from each clutch is raised. The second chick dies within days of hatching because of unsuccessful competition from the first chick that hatches in getting food from the parents. The remaining chick remains in the nest for three months and is fed by the parents for an additional nine months. The chick remains with the family unit until they reach sexual maturity.

Most hornbills are monogamous. In species such as the African ground hornbill, cooperative breeding has developed in which some individuals, usually males, although sexually mature, do not breed but help a dominant pair to rear their young.

African folklore:
The Masai believe that the African ground hornbill should never be killed because it will bring bad luck. If one lands on the roof of a house, the occupants must move at once or they believe death will ensue.

Aside from many indigenous tribes in South Africa using the ground hornbill for "muti" (tribal medicine), there are others in Africa who believe that the African ground hornbill is a rain prophet.

Status:
They are listed as vulnerable in South Africa as they have disappeared from large areas where they have occurred in the past. They now occur only in reserves. There were at last estimate about 720 birds in the Kruger National Park [this information might be outdated], which is South Africa's largest reserve.
Currently there is a conservation project underway in South Africa, in which the second chick from a nest is taken before it dies and raised and released to help increase their numbers.
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Unread postby richardharris » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:23 pm

Another offering.

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Last edited by Elsa on Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: pic resized.

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:27 am

Always see them on the H10, every morning when we wait for the gate to open @ LS you can hear their booming call from the river.

You will often hear someone telling their partner that the lions are near. :lol:
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Unread postby Klystron » Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:07 pm

These are two pics from Elsa's and my trip last May/June. She posted a piece in this forum in August 2005 as well.

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These ones also gave the impression of begging from the cars.

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Unread postby Elsa » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:28 pm

This was one of a group of three on the H4-2 that gave us a lovely view as they strutted around the cars a week ago.
Not sure if they were begging for food or admiring their reflections. :wink:


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Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:37 pm

juvenile on your left, female on the right and male in the middle.

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Last edited by Elsa on Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: pic resized.
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Unread postby gwendolen » Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:40 pm

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Sightings of the Ground Hornbill?

Unread postby safari bug » Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:54 pm

Hi Out There ![b]

I was at the Kruger National Park from the 24th September until the 3rd October.
Whilst on holday saw that their was a ground hornbill project, requesting people to note of sightings in the higher region of the kruger National Park. :dance:

I had some sightings of these birds in the Letaba and higher area. Would like to know where can we report these sightings:roll:

Have tried one of the links made availabe under this topic but it does not seem to work. :?
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Unread postby francoisd » Mon Oct 09, 2006 1:08 pm

Hi Safari bug. Try this link. I'll ask Diannet to correct the link on the SANParks Ground Hornbill Census page.

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Southern Ground Hornbill Research Project

Unread postby Baffers » Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:19 pm

Hello guys. I have searched the forum and couldnt find a post on this yet so here goes.

LD van Essen, Ground Hornbill Working Group (GHWG) manager for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), is busy with a research project whereby they are looking for ground hornbill nests.

He asks for the following:

the public can also help the researchers by regularly reporting sightings of this distinctive bird in the sightings books in the various camps. Researchers can then go through the books to find out where the hornbills are most frequently seen.

He asks that members of the public spotting the birds record exactly where they saw the birds (GPS readings if possible), how many birds were seen, whether juvenile or adult and if they appeared to be carrying nesting material. For more information, or to report a sighting directly to L.D. van Essen via SMS, call 082 320 6620.


The article appeared in the Kruger Park Times a while ago:
Ground Hornbills

I have done this a few times and just given the road and approximate kilo reading from cross roads. I have even sent him some pictures as I say on my sms that I have pictures and he then gets back to you to say "please do send them" or "no thanks not this time"

Do yourselfs a favor and place the sms in your phone and do the effort of helping these guys...

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Unread postby Baffers » Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:32 pm

Hi :D

The best way is to sms it to L.D. van Essen

I have his number as Hornbillman on my cell :)
[Edit by DB - Please PM Baffers for this number]

If you are writting it down then you can email him as well on
ldv@ewt.org.za

He asks for
1. The position (if possible gps coordinates) but rough estimates (ie road name and +- km from the nearest turnoff) will do.
2. How many birds (juvinile and or adult specified)
3. Importantly note carefully if they are carrying nesting materials.
4. Condition of the birds

You can send photo's as well if there is anything out of the ordinary.

The more frequent data they get the more they can update the movements of the birds.

He is a very nice guy and replies frequently to emails.
At the end of it all you don't want to go into the grave peacefully and quietly in well preserved body... You want to go sort off skidding in sideways, full of bruises and scratches saying: "Man what a ride!!!"


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