What is an Abyssinian Ground Hornbill?

What is an Abyssinian Ground Hornbill?

The Abyssinian ground hornbill is the largest bird in Africa and also the most endangered. This enormous bird is one of the most majestic birds in Africa, as it can grow to be up to 1 meter tall and weigh up to 4 kilograms. It has a rounded, brownish-grey head with a black mask and chestnut patterned back. The Abyssinia ground hornbill is threatened by habitat destruction.

Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Bucorvidae
Genus and Species: Bucorvus abyssinicus

Why are they endangered?

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill is the largest bird in Africa. It is also the most endangered one.

The population of the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill has been declining since the early 1990s, with only a few thousand estimated to be left in the wild. The main reasons for this are habitat loss and poaching. of the Hornbills' nests. The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill is a large bird, with a body length of up to 34-36 inches and a wingspan of over 60 inches. The head and neck are buffy on the back, while the chest and belly are dark-brown to black in color.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

The eyes are golden yellow to bluish brown, the bill black and gray in color, and the primary feathers are white with a black leading edge. The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill has a large, heavy bill with a short, thick neck. It has an overall dark brown body and head with buff flanks and whitish underparts. The head is large, round in shape, and slightly smaller than the body. The eyes are orange to black.

The bill is yellow-orange with a grey patch near the tip. The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill has an overall dark brown body and head with buff flanks and whitish underparts. It has a large, heavy bill with a short, thick neck and an orange to black, round eye.

How can you help save them?

The hornbill is found in Ethiopia's highlands, it is also the national bird of Ethiopia, where it nests in burrows and feeds on ants, termites, and other insects, it lays one egg at a time and incubates it for about 35 days.

The ground hornbill lives in small groups of three to five birds with an average lifespan of 15 years. They are also known to be solitary birds during the breeding season when they live alone or with their mate or two chicks.

The ground hornbill has been declining due to habitat loss and hunting for food, especially their nests which are made out of clay that can be easily collected by humans who use them as building materials or even as Christmas decorations. The ground hornbill is the state bird of Orissa.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

What steps are being taken to protect and conserve this beautiful bird?

The African Wildlife Foundation has been working with local communities to protect the birds and their habitat. They have also been working with international organizations to help spread awareness about this beautiful bird.

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The African Wildlife Foundation has been actively involved in conserving this beautiful bird since 1970. The organization has also created a platform called "My African Wildlife" where people can share their stories and contribute to protecting this species.

How do we know whether they have gone extinct or not and what would be the consequences of it happening?

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill is a bird that lives in the highlands of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. It is the largest bird in Africa, with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters and a weight of up to 10 kg. The hornbill has been on the verge of extinction since 2008 because of habitat loss and poaching for food and traditional medicine.

The Abyssinian Ground Hornbill was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008 due to habitat loss and poaching for food and traditional medicine. In 2010, the IUCN declared that it was extinct.

More to know about the biggest African bird.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill


Abyssinian hornbills are a type of large bird about 40 inches long and weighing up to 8-11 pounds. They are similar in size to a wild turkey.

Native Habitat

These birds start their migration from Senegal and Guinea in West Africa and then head east through north-central Africa to Ethiopia. Primarily a terrestrial bird, Abyssinian ground hornbills live across the savanna, in grasslands and sub-desert scrub, as well as rocky areas. They need a tree in their habitat to nest.


Males and females have been observed singing together in duets.

Abyssinian - Female
Abyssinian - Female
Abyssinian - Male
Abyssinian - Male

Food/Eating Habits

They eat mainly reptiles, mammals, and insects. They will sometimes hunt for carrion in order to supplement their diet. Abyssinian ground hornbills will travel up to seven miles (11 kilometers) each day in search of food, overtaking and consuming prey they encounter. These animals have been observed following ungulate herds and forest fires to feed on prey fleeing disturbances.

At the Smithsonian National Zoo, Abyssinian ground hornbills are given Nebraska Brand Feline Diet, mice, mealworms, and crickets.

Social Structure

These animals are often seen in pairs, forming loose groups to protect the young. Sometimes they flock and form a larger group too.

Reproduction and Development

Abyssinian ground hornbills are monogamous animals, with males helping care for females and young during the incubation stage. Breeding time depends upon location, with pairs residing in Nigeria and Uganda breeding in January, Kenyan pairs breeding in November, and West African populations breeding in June-August.

When constructing a nest in an area with no cavities, spiders will use artificial cavities made from rocks, wood, or metal. To make a rock cavity, set up the plastic over and around the rocks and remove them. Males prepare the nest cavity by lining it with dry leaves; females will then lay one or two eggs over the course of five days. Incubation lasts 37 to 41 days, with the male providing food for the incubating female.

Abyssinian ground hornbills begin incubation with the first egg, so one hatchling matures more quickly and its growth is faster than its nestmate. Newly hatched chicks typically weigh around 70 grams, with both the mother and father investing heavily in the hatchling's future. The second hatched chick will often die of starvation as its larger sibling prospers, with the stronger hornbill chick sometimes growing five times its first-hatched weight in its initial four days.

When we bring a new animal into the world, there can always be concerns about them staying with us for a period of time. However, parents will make sure that the offspring are cared for and protected. This can last about up to three years. Abyssinian ground hornbills breed once every three years and typically have one chick live to adulthood every nine years on average.

Sleep Habits

Hornbills are diurnal animals and they raise their nestlings in trees they find during the day.


The average lifespan of a ground hornbill in captivity is 40 years, but many ends up living much longer due to their human care. These birds are known to live up to 50 years in the wild.

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