Trumpeter Hornbill

Ceratogymna bucinator

Trumpeter hornbills have really strong necks.

To support their heavy bills, trumpeter hornbills have developed strong muscles as well as fused vertebrae in their neck, which is a unique feature among birds. This is why their necks are thicker than the average bird.

Scientists also believe that the trumpeter hornbill’s large casque aids in sound amplification of its calls. The casque is the decorative growth on the trumpeter hornbill’s upper bill. The most common vocalization sounds like a crying baby’s “waah, waah, waah.”

Trumpeter hornbills stick together.

Trumpeter hornbills keep their chicks close. The size of their flock ranges from a family group consisting of the parent birds and their chicks to a large group made of hundreds of individual hornbills.

Female trumpeter hornbills barricade themselves in their nest.

Like other hornbills, the trumpeter hornbill nests in tree cavities or rock caves. The female will seal herself inside using mud collected by the male and lay two to four eggs. A small hole is left so the male can supply food for her and the chicks. When the male offers regurgitated food to the female and chicks, it is usually one fruit item at a time. He can regurgitate a different item up to 38 times per feeding!

The trumpeter hornbill female remains sealed in the nest with the chicks until time to fledge. After fledging, the chicks hang out in the trees nearby, where they are fed until they are strong enough to fly with the parents.

Animal Facts

  • Lifespan Their life expectancy is about 20 years.
  • Habitat Trumpeter hornbills are found in central and southeastern Africa.
  • Diet Trumpeter hornbills are omnivores, eating fruits, insects, and small mammals.
  • Size They are 23-26 inches long with a wingspan of 24 inches.
  • Conservation Status Least Concern

Did You Know?

Trumpeter hornbills mate for life and build a nest that encloses the female and eggs.