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Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Southern Yellow-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: 2009-10-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2013-01-27 7:59
Viewed: 4290
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill / Tockus leucomelas

For the next couple of weeks I will be continuing with the series on The Birds of the Kruger National Park which I had on hold for a while. I will try to share as many different species as possible. Unfortunately some of the images are not as good quality as I would have liked it to be, and in these instances I do want to emphasise that the aspiration of Trek Nature is to learn about nature through photography and not the other way around. If I could show you by way of this series a new or not so familiar species, even though the quality of the image is not as good, I am pleased. We are after all here to appreciate nature through the camera lens and not primarily to receive lessons in photography. Today I share number 55 in this series, the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.

The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is a common resident of the bushveld, arid thornveld and savanna of Southern Africa. It is classified as a near-endemic in the region, with its range extending northwards into Angola. As hornbills go, the yellow-billed hornbill variety is medium in size, its length being about 45cm. The massive, deep yellow bill gives the bird its rather expressive Afrikaans name of "Geelbekneushoringvoël" which can be directly translated as "Yellow-mouthed, horn-nosed bird". Its eyes are yellow, surrounded by a patch of bare pink skin, and it has a white belly, grey neck, and black back decorated with numerous white spots and stripes. The sexes are alike in plumage, although the male is slightly bigger than the female and has a bigger bill.

It is often a solitary bird, or may be found in pairs or small groups. It forages mostly on the ground for rodents, insects, centipedes and so forth, and also for seeds and fruit. It has a habit, delightful to watch, of picking up a piece of food in the tip of its large bill and then tossing it backwards towards its throat so that it can be swallowed.

The call of the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is a loud wuk, wuk, wuk, often while prominently perched at the top of a tree and it will sometimes call in chorus with another bird. The breeding habits of the hornbill are well known, the nest being a natural hole in tree, lined with dry grass and leaves, into which the female is sealed by the male, often using his own faeces, at breeding time. Three to five eggs are laid and they hatch after 24-26 days, but the female will remain sealed into the nest for a further three weeks or so before breaking out.

The scientific name for the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill is Tockus leucomelas; "tockus" being onomatopoeic for the birds call and "leucomelas" from the two Greek words "leykos" meaning white or bright and "melas" meaning black. Thus a black and white bird that goes "tock". Close enough! Source

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

oldferret, maaciejka, Jakkals, Argus, CeltickRanger, McQueenca, anel, KOMSIS, cobra112, Chiza, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello Anna

This is a super good picture
great details nice composition and beautiful colours
sorry today i have no more smile,s

greeting lou

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-01-27 9:01]

Hi Anna,
Very nice portrait of a beautiful and interesting bird.
Fantastic colours with excellent details.
Very good work.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-01-27 9:02]

Hello Anna,
Clarity and colours are splendid in this photo. The saturation is gorgeous. Together with the superb sharpness, details and very attractive pose, this photo is a beauty.

Hi Anna,

A really nice rear view of this splendid looking bird shown good detail and nice colours in a natural surroundings and bg. Very useful note.
Thanks for sharing and you recent nice comments, best regards Bill.

Hello Anna,
This very well composed picture with great clarity and beautiful colours.
although it is superb picture.
best wishes,

Ciao Anna, great capture of fantastic bird in nice pose, wonderful colors, splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Anna,
nice capture of this interesting bird. Amazing colours. A lot of details. Perfect sharpness.
Thanks for sharing,

Hallo Anna,
A Fantastic composition of the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill showed here with pin sharp detail and beautiful colours. I love the pose and the clear eye detail in perfect natural surroundings. Great photograph my friend.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-01-27 11:37]

Hi Anna,beautiful close-up of this magnificent hornbill.Very impressive quality despite the backlight and a very rich composition too whit this fresh green around the bird.Have a nice week and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2013-01-27 11:39]

Hi Anna
Lovely pic with great details and nice pose

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2013-01-27 12:47]

Hello Anna,
I see we are 'neighbours' this time!
Excellent capture of the Yellow-billed Hornbill that you have kept from us for far too long.
I like the pose taken from a great POV that shows its features with top sharpness and natural colours and the composition among the acacia leaves makes this image a pleasure to view.
Thanks and have a good week,

Hello Anne

Excellent close-up photo of the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
in its expressive pose and glance, fine POV, beautiful background,
great focus, sharpness, details, and contrast, TFS


Great photo Anna! Interesting subject, nice pose, very good composition, wonderful colours and very good sharpness!

Hi Anna
Very colourful bird in a nice natural setting. You caught him in a very good pose from a good POV. Well composed with good sharpness.
Thanks for sharing
Best regards

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-01-28 4:38]

Hello Anna,
Very interesting picture of this Hornbill sitting in such a beautiful green tree.
Excellent sharpness and light-management. Perfect pose of the bird too. A very pleasant posting!
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-01-28 6:03]

Good portrait of this Hornbill in its elements. tfs.

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2013-01-28 8:07]

Merhaba Anna!
Bu güzel kuşu sayenizde yakından görmüş kadar iyi tanıyorum. Çok başarılı bir kare. Kompozisyon da çok güzel. Tebrikler.


  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2013-02-02 12:27]

Hello Anna!
this bird is well known through the beautiful movie "The animals are also human beings"...
Your pic here is phenomenal,full od great details.Lovely environment and nice contact eyes.So well done.Thanks for sharing this marvelous bird with us.Thanks also for your kind comments in my last pic.As always you made my day!!!!
Best of luck from,

PS: for anyone interested

Hi Anna,
what a superbe portrait of this fascinating bird. Great colours and good sharpness. Nice pose of the hornbill.
Well done

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2013-02-04 10:00]

Hallo Anna,
Fantastic beaked bird ..
Very nice point of view with good view on the patterns on the wings.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2013-02-05 1:03]

Hello anna
really a wonderful bird with so pretty plumage and excellent details you show us. How I like to see the special gesture and eye contact. The details are remarkable and you really justify the beauty of the bird.


Ciao Anna. Gradevoli colori, in condizioni di luce difficili. Valida composizione in verticale. Perfetti dettaglio e nitidezza.


Hello Anna,
Outstanding capture with an excellent sharp details and lovely natural surrounding,
TFS and my regards,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-02-09 19:28]

WOW Anna!! What a beautiful looking bird.
With a heavy duty bill like that I'm sure he is not picked upon by any other birds. Superb shot...looks like he is sitting right here in my livingroom.
I find it very interesting how the female is sealed inside the tree at breeding time. I have watched documentaries of this behavior on the National Geographic channel and it is quite captivating. A top quality image!!

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2013-02-10 19:21]

Hola Anna...wow...que belleza de ave y de foto, me encanta la composición, color, entorno y sobre todo la nitidez de los detalles de esta hermosa especie y el contacto con el ojo genial, felicitaciones...

Hello Anna.
This is a beautiful hornbill captured from dorsal pov. The head turn and perch are pleasing with vivid details of the plumage. The tree looks like our flame of the forest giving out bright red flowers when in bloom.
Thanks for sharing and have a nice day.

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2013-04-11 14:59]

Hi Anna,

I saw only once this guy in Kenya and it was far aways and I didn't get a good shot of it. So it is very nice to see this one with so much detials. It is really impressive quality and that eyes is really intimidating the way it stare back at me.


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