The Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Tockus leucomelas, is an African Hornbill. It is a medium sized bird, with length between 48 to 60 cm, characterized by a long yellow beak with a casque (only in males). The skin around the eyes and in the malar stripe is vivid red-coloured.
They present white belly, grey neck, and black back with abundant white spots and stripes. They feed mainly on the ground surface, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. Termites and ants are a preferred food source in the dry season.
Females lay 3 to 4 white eggs in their nest cavities and incubate them for about 25 days. Juveniles take about 45 days to mature. This hornbill is a common, widespread resident of the dry thorn fields and broad-leafed woodlands of inland southern to northeastern Africa.
© Mark Hannaford