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Great Hornbill

Great Hornbill

Animal's Behavior

Great hornbills form monogamous pairs within small groups of up to 40 birds. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the prominent bright yellow casque on top of its bill. When nesting, the female is sealed in the hollow of a large tree, depending on the male to bring food.

Eating Habits

Hornbills are foragers, eating figs and other fruit. They may also feed on insects, small birds and lizards.


India, Thailand and Sumatra

Conservation Efforts

Tribes within the hornbill’s range believe its flesh to have medicinal properties, and the bird’s beak and head are used as charms. Breeding successes in zoos have been few, although Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is the first zoo to have reproduced this species in captivity. Population diversity studies have been attempted.

Animal Facts

  • Hornbills have been known to eat as many as 150 figs in one meal.
  • The male hornbill has red eyes, while the female’s eyes are blue.
  • Prey is tossed in the air before it is swallowed.

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Quick Facts

Scientific Name

Buceros bicornis


Animalia, Chordata, Aves,Coraciiformes, Bucerotidae

Place of Birth

Dense old-growth forests


38 – 47 inches long, 5 – 8 lbs.


Mostly black, with a bright yellow casque on its bill


50 years

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

Where to See

Audubon Zoo

Mailing address: Audubon Nature Institute 6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70118
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