Bucorvus leadbeati - SOUTHERN GROUNDHORNBILL

Magriet Meintjes

TOLWE, South Africa

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LOCATION CAPTURE: THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA. CLOSE TO SIRHENI BUSHVELDCAMP ON THE S56 RIVER LOOP.

Bucorvus leadbeateri – SOUTHERN GROUNDHORNBILL

Southern Ground Hornbills are charismatic birds, easily identifiable by their appearance and signature call. Unfortunately, less than 1500 Ground Hornbills are left in South Africa. The species is classified as vulnerable in the Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Ground Hornbills live in family groups of between two and eleven birds, comprising a dominant alpha breeding pair, a variable number of juveniles
and adult male helpers. The species’ vulnerability is increased due to this social structure, and by the fact that only one out of two or three chicks can fledge. Ground Hornbills are extremely long-lived birds. The dominant pair only breeds on average every 2,5 years and successful fledglings only occur on average every 9 years.

The stronghold for the species is primarily within formal conservation areas. With territories of over 100 km2, the birds forage over wide areas, but cannot survive and breed in areas without suitable natural holes in either trees or rock faces.

Disturbance at cliff sites and the removal of large trees, pose a threat to the survival of these birds. Other threats include deforestation, poisoning and the use of the species in local cultural practices, like rain-making. Another threat is direct persecution as a result of their habit of attacking their refection in windows that can cause property damage

Only one out of two or three Ground Hornbill chicks fledges.

Ground Hornbills are important in South African culture due to the fact that they can supposedly end droughts.

Ground Hornbills can damage property when attacking their reflection in windows.

Ground Hornbills nest in holes in trees or on cliff faces between 4 and 5 m off the ground.

Ground Hornbills need very little water to survive

ALL INFORMATION OBTAINED, AS MEMBER, FROM THE ENDANGERED WILD LIFE TRUST IN SOUTH AFRICA.

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afrika birds endangered nature species

Artwork Comments

  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
  • Magriet Meintjes
  • Tambala
  • Andy Harris
  • 1Nino
  • Kimberley Davitt
  • jacqi
  • Jan Landers
  • Sue Martin
  • Paul Lindenberg
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