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Red-billed Hornbill

Red-billed Hornbill
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2010-02-11 18:37
Viewed: 10532
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Red-billed Hornbill / Tockus erythrorhynchus

The Red-billed Hornbill is the 8th in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

Just like the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver and the Dark-capped Bulbul which I have already shared, this bird was photographed in front of the bungalow where we stayed in the Satara campsite. We were very fortunate to shoot many types of birds around the bungalow. A number of these birds are very photogenic, such as this Red-billed Hornbill and the Crested Barbet, only to mention a few.

The Red-billed Hornbill belongs to the family of birds classified as Bucerotidae. According to the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology it is also known as the Red-beaked Hornbill. It is neither endemic or near endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident. It is a bird about the size of a Francolin now called Spurfowl. The height of the bird is about 45cm and its weight is about 150 grams. The male and female have the same plumage and colours. This bird has normally proportioned leg length and has a long tail. It does not have the casque on the bill that many other hornbills have. They are notable for their long eyelashes and rather stubby legs and toes, with broad soles and the bases of three front toes partly fused.

Feeding Habits
The Red-billed Hornbill mainly feeds on the ground. They are omnivorous, taking both plant and animal food. They skilfully seize swarming termites in flight and pursue grasshoppers on the ground.

Breeding Habitat and Nesting Habits
The nesting habit which is similar for most hornbills is of particular interest .Mating pairs of the Hornbills inspect potential nesting sites (holes in tree trunks) together. A good nesting hole will preferably face north out of the direct prevailing winds and to get good access to heat from the morning sun.

Once approved the base of the hole will be lined, by the female, with dry leaves or bits of bark. In preparing to lay eggs inside the nest the female will close up the entrance hole using its own faeces until only a slit is left open through which the male can bring food to the female. Eggs are normally layed after the first good rains and about 5 days after the female has secured itself in the nest. It seems a high percentage of these nesting birds have access to a bolt or escape hole at some position higher than the nesting floor level or incubation chamber.

While inside the nest the female uses the opportunity to moult all its feathers (all birds do moult but normally on a piece-meal basis and not as aggressively as the hornbills do). The moulting feathers also create extra nesting materials for the fledgling chicks. A typical clutch of eggs is 4 layed over a period of days and the chicks hatch in the order the eggs are laid. As the young develop they learn to squirt their droppings through the slit entrance to the nest.

The female leaves the nest when the oldest chick is between 3 and 4 weeks old and the chicks reseal the nest. There are normally 2 broods of youngsters raised a few months apart. It is unusual for more than 2 chicks to survive and learn to forage with their parents. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 5.

The preferred habitats for Red-billed Hornbill are: woodlands and bush savannah. You will normally see the Red-billed Hornbill in pairs or flocks and not as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages
Afrikaans ... Rooibekneushoringvoël
Zulu ... umKholwane
German ... Rotschnabeltoko
Portuguese ... Calau-de-bico-vermelho
French ... Calao bec rouge
Dutch ... Roodsnaveltok


I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

Hormon_Manyer, roges, Jamesp, Heaven, maurydv, ramthakur, CeltickRanger, uleko, horias, jlinaresp, Juyona, Mello, eng55, jaycee, boreocypriensis, Argus, marius-secan, Noisette, xTauruSx, siggi, Dis. Ac., tuslaw, saeedabbasi, anel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Dear Anna,
Although being quite simple composition-wise, this is one of the best photos in Your gallery. Gorgeous colors, sharpness is like a razor-blade, and the DOF effect may be seen quite well. The only, so-called "negative" aspect I have to mention is in the top right corner: probably a leg of another bird? You should have cropped that - otherwise everything else is fantastic on the image. Awesome capture, Mrs. Loot, congrats and tfs.
Friendly regards, László

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-02-11 20:18]

Hi Anna,
Now there's a bird with attitude. : )
Does it have a cousin called the yellow-billed hornbill?
Love that oversized curved red bill.
Great colors with sharp details and a wonderful pose.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-02-11 21:33]

Hello Anna
Another beautiful and interesting bird. I like natural colors and details
Thanks for sharing this beauty.

Hi Anna,

Een van die mooiste klein voels in die park. goed afgeneem met mooii detail op die vere. ek hou van die komposisie en houding van die onderwerp.


  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2010-02-11 22:35]

Hi Anna

The pose and detail here are reaaly excellent. The background is also just right without you having to throw it out of focus.

Best wishes


  • Great 
  • gondox Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 356 W: 65 N: 342] (1585)
  • [2010-02-11 23:14]

Hi Anna!

What an extraordinary bird: it's curved bill and its patterns make it look really nice. You imaged him very nicely, with many details and natural colors. TFS!

In addition to your list:
Hungarian: Piroscsőrű tokó

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2010-02-11 23:16]

Dear Anna!

Yes, I enjoy looking at this picture and I imagine as much as you took pleasure in taking it... This bird is so beautiful, and surprising at the same time because it's so different from the birds we can see in my country. Your picture provides the viewer a very good overall impression of this strange fellow. I like its shapes and it's funny to notice that they are mostly composed of half circles. Its view is impressive and the simple yet effective composition highlights the bird's characteristics at best. Moreover, it's a pleasure to read your well elaborated notes with the usual and so welcome mix of narration and information.

Kind regards


Hello Anna,
a fantastic capture of the Red-billed Hornbill, superb contrast of the marvellous colours against a neutral BG, very good sharpness, a very pleasant close composition with a splendid pose of this surprising bird on the ground.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-02-12 3:48]

Hi Anna,
splendid bird. Magnificent color of the feathers.
Thanks for the top post!
Have a wonderful day,

Hi Anna.
A new great post of you!
This bird have amazing form and is very interesting.
Thanks for sharing.
Friendly greetings.Alin.

An adorable bird that seems to be conscious of the fact that it is being photographed by Anna. There is this expression in its eyes that seems to say: 'What next, mam? Should I turn around a bit?'
Excellent picture, Anna. All the features of this bird are very well captured. The reddish brown earth BG is just perfect for this shot.
Thanks and regards.

hello Anna

excellent close-up photo of the Red-billed Hornbill,
fine POV showing patterns of his plumage and the
expression of his glance, superb focus sharpness details,



  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-12 7:48]

Hello Anna,
I remember this Hornbill very well from Gambia where it was used to people and easy to observe. Your capture is wonderful and sharp showing its lovely plumage and gorgeous colours. He looks very cheeky or maybe angry!
Very fine close view!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2010-02-12 8:02]

Hello Anna,
There is interesting exotic world with so unusual birds so different than in Europa. With curiosity I've read note about this species. Your photo show very exactly all the details and colours.
Regards, Pawel

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-02-12 9:53]

Hi Anna
Interesting,funny of my point of view,great details and colors:this is your lovely bird.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-02-12 9:53]

Hello Anna,
Excellent photo of this Roodsnaveltok. I've seen hundreds of them in Kruger. Specially on the places where tourists are lunching. Fantastic natural colours, sharp details and composition.

Hi Anna,
Amazing bird and amazing POV! and wath acctitude pose! congratulations, very balanced shot. Very suitable for see the specimens chars. **Great & useful note!

hello Anna
this is a beautiful sharpness picture with great details and beautiful colours
you can see the bird very good ,so close
great picture
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2010-02-12 11:42]

Hola Anna,
magnífica captura,
buen foco y presentación...
expresiva mirada del ave,

  • Great 
  • Mello Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 140 W: 34 N: 480] (2419)
  • [2010-02-12 11:43]

Hello Anna,
I never saw something like this one before. Thanks to post this beauty and you did it in a great way.
Have a nice weekend MF.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-12 14:53]

Hi Anna,
Very beautiful capture of this hornbill.
Exposure is spot on,details are crisp
clear.Well caught,framed and composed.
Have a nice weekend!
Thanks for posting..

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-12 16:12]

Hi Anna,

I agree - this Red-billed Hornbill is most photogenic. A terrific shot of him looking like a naughty little boy who has been caught. He seems to be saying, "I didn't mean to do it." The colors, details and textures of his face, eye and feathers are fantastic. A wonderful pose standing on the ground near your bungalow.

Ciao Anna, great capture of fantastic bird, wonderful colors, fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done, happy Valentine Day, ciao Silvio

Hi Anna,
this bird is very pretty and IMO it always looks a little offended ;-) Perhaps that is because the bill is going downwards. The ploumage is so beautiful, also the colours. Very good contrast against the red sand.
Thanks, I like it very much.
Have a wonderful day
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-02-14 3:03]

Hi Anna,
another lovely capture of this hornbill, the red one. Very special and unique. The pose and the stare is very exciting.
You have given a good view on its feathers and plumage and definitely I like the bill, as it is named for.
How wonderful to be able to capture a bird shot like this.
Well presented in sharpness and the red earth presents a good background.


Hi Anna,

Stunning capture of this loveley faced Red-billed Hornbill from POV with flawless details, great DOF and delightful composition. It seems to be showing off for you! :)
TFS and Happy Valentine's Day with Loot!

Ps. You missed my 600th posting:D

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-02-14 8:18]

Hello Anna,
A superb sharp capture of the Red-billed Hornbill taken from a fine POV and contrasting nicely with the soil BG to show its features with excellent colours.
As this shot reminds me of the same species (or ssp) that saw and photographed in Gambia before digital photography and as this is so well taken I am taking it as a favourite. I remember the sound they make too.
Thanks for this great reminder!
With best wishes,

Hello Anna,
Excellent capture of this interesting bird. Superb vivid colours and great details.
It is a lovely pose.

Hello Anna
you have captured this superb bird with perfect details, each feather on it's beautiful plumage is well seen, his red bill, his sharp look, his nice pose and the brown BG are great add for the value of this beautiful image
have a good night

Bonsoir Anna
j'ai du retard !!!!
Mais je ne voulais pas passer ŕ coté de cette photo qui me fait pâlir d'envie !!!!
Tout simplemnt superbe,
bravo et merci...JP

Hello Anna,
Splendid shot of a pretty hornbill with nice composition and details.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-02-15 4:01]

Hello Anna,
Nice capture of this bird . The composition, colors and details are all great. Thanks for sharing.
Best regards Siggi

Hola Anna,

viendo tu galería uno se da cuenta de que no conoce aún casi nada de este planeta. Este ave la conocí por primera vez en Tn, pero siempre que la veo me sorprende por su rareza.
Excelente luz, colores y enfoque, con un ojo muy bien captado.
Un abrazo : Josep Ignasi.

Hello Anna,

another nice picture from an beautiful bird and you're lucky there with such birds and animals to photographed.
Good shot and details with fine colours.


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-02-16 20:29]

Hello Anna,
My first thought when viewing this bird was of Jimmy Durantee. That is definitely one big bright bill he is sporting around. Excellent quality photo showing the gorgeous plumage and fine features of this particular bird species. Nicely composed with perfect exposure. Great work!!

Hi Anna ,
Another great work from you.
Wonderful details and nice colours.

Kind regards and best wishes

Nice shot! The clarity and sharpness are amazing. Thanks for sharing.


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-03-18 5:28]

Hello Anna,
Missed this picture of the fabulous Hornbill. I discovered these birds on TN and they appeared to me quite extraordinary. I think some of the pictures had been presented by Loot. They don't seem to be too shy, if they come close to the bungalows. Smart, they know there will be some food! Simple and fine composition, natural colors and good sharpness. And also a nice pose of the bird.
Take care!
Kind regards

dear Anna,
I browsed your portfolio - every image a beauty - and decided on the red-billed Hornbill, because lately - for whatever reason - there are no Hornbills of any kind in Hoedspruit and surroundings!

I know, when they resurfaced the roads in Hoedspruit all Guinea fowls were served for dinner; but does this also happen to hornbills?

Your portray catches well the facial expression these birds have, when one chats to them... I wonder if it was a young bird, because the beak is not damaged, scratched?!?

The natural colours are very pleasing to the eye and every detail of the beautiful plumage sharp and clear.

You achieved maximum results with the portrait of this handsome bird!

Take care
Love Ingrid

I've never seen such a bird the colours are really impressive, sharpness also very good

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