Indrajit Latey Indrajit Latey has worked in the fields of wildlife management and nature tourism for over 20 years. His interest in wildlife was ignited during his childhood years when he spent many summers in Melghat Tiger Reserve in India's western state of...
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill is also nicknamed “flying banana” because of its beak Physical.
Eastern yellow-billed hornbills have black wings with white-spotted wing-coverts. They have a black tail and a sizeable yellow beak with a slight casque. They have black, bare skin around the eye, and males have a pink-skinned throat. They grow up to 16-18” in length and weigh up to 6 to 10 ounces. Its diet is mainly based on seeds, small insects, spiders, scorpions, termites, and ants.
Habitat & Range: North-eastern Africa, they live in dry thorn fields, broad-leafed woodlands, forests, savannahs, and shrublands
Life Span: various sources estimate from 20-40 years in the wild, 50 in captivity.
Perils in the wild: Crowned eagles, leopards, chimpanzees, humans, habitat destruction
- Strong beak to crack seeds and find insects
- Hornbills have huge, two-tiered beaks that cause the birds to appear top-heavy. The bill is long, forming dexterous forceps. The cutting edges are serrated for breaking up food.
- The hornbill is one of the few birds with eyelashes to shield them from sun, dust, and debris. Their eyelashes are modified feathers.
- The stocky body has air sacs under the skin over the back and shoulder area, which may cushion the female from injury in her cramped nest.
- The tail is utilized as a rudder in flight. It also serves as a prop, bracing the male while he clings to the nest-hole entrance.
- Strong feet provide a secure grip, particularly for the male as he perches to feed his mate through the slit in the nest hole.
- Only bird group (hornbills) in which the first two neck vertebrae are fused to support the skull