Fun African Grey Hornbill Facts For Kids

African Grey Hornbill

Share this article

The African hornbill (Lophoceros nasutus) is a hornbill of phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Bucerotiformese, and genus Lophoceros. This hornbill is an ashy-colored hornbill and has a long arched bill of different colors, mainly white and black. The bill of males is very dark and has a pale wedge at the base, while the female has a purple and reddish color tip at the end. The head of this hornbill is black with a slight white strip. African grey hornbill birds are mainly a family of tropical birds. There is one white line at the back of the body of this bird that can only be seen when in flight. This bird comes under the category of large birds and has a very smooth wavy flight and can fly with ease. Both the male and female of this bird look very similar, however they have different types of bills which can help to identify them. The juvenile of this bird is grayer than the adults. This bird is resident to southern countries. The African gray hornbill is a native bird of the African region. They are widespread in the Sub-Saharan and Arabia region. Though there has been some evidence of their appearance in the United States, it is not clear if they are still breeding there.

Have an interest in birds and want to know about more of them? Here you can know some amazing facts about the great hornbill and rhinoceros hornbill!

African Grey Hornbill Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an African grey hornbill?

The hornbill African grey is a bird type that prefers dry, arid, and semi-arid regions with a good forest cover for their nest. They are commonly seen living with their family in southern countries of the world. They have large beautiful red eyes and black-white feet.

What class of animal does an African grey hornbill belong to?

The African grey hornbill belongs to the kingdom Animalia, class Aves, and the family Bucerotidae. This bird is not that colorful and has a black and white body with fluffy plumage. Their scientific name is Lophoceros nasutus.

How many African grey hornbills are there in the world?

The exact number of the African grey hornbills in the world is not known yet. There are 62 species of hornbill in the world, out of which 32 are present in Asia and the other 30 species are present in Africa. In India, there are nine species of hornbill including the great hornbill, the Malabar pied hornbill, and the rufous-necked hornbill.

Where does an African grey hornbill live?

The African grey hornbill (Lophoceros nasutus) is a woodland bird that can mostly be seen in areas near dry forest cover. These birds are mainly a family of tropical birds. The distribution of this African hornbill is found across the Old World including northern parts of South Africa, throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe, northern Namibia, southern Botswana, northern South Africa, Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal, western and north-western Indian states, the Western Ghats, and Sri Lanka.

What is an African grey hornbill's habitat?

The natural habitat of this African grey hornbill for resident purposes and for nest building are regions of woodlands, scrublands, wooded savannas, miombo (Brachystegia) forests, arid thornveld, wooded gardens, and tree plantations in the Old World. Though they prefer natural greenery habitats of nature, their distribution can alos be seen in urban areas. Some people like to pet them and they are commonly seen in areas near cities where there are lots of trees and good canopy cover present.

Who does the African grey hornbill live with?

The African hornbill is a social bird and likes to interact with both humans and other birds too. They mainly live in medium-size flocks and cooperative groups. The groups mostly consist of birds of every age group such as a dominating breeding pair, chicks, and juveniles. They are not migratory birds and like to stay in one place only in the Old World.

How long does an African grey hornbill live?

The African Hornbill lifespan is about 15 years. They have one of the longest lifespans birds can have. The longest known living hornbill is the great hornbill that lived for approximately 50 years.

How do they reproduce?

The African grey hornbill bird is monogamous and both males and females feed the babies, but the female builds the nest. The grey hornbill nesting habit is unique. The female of this bird mainly uses a thick liquid mixture of mud, droppings, fruit pulp, and dung to seal the nest entrance. She leaves a little hole for the male hornbill to come and feed. They do this during the incubation period so that alien predators stay away from the nest, making their babies safe. The female lays a clutch of two to four white eggs in the nest. After growing for some time, the female hornbill breaks the walls of the nest and creates a larger opening.

What is their conservation status?

According to the  International Union for Conservation of Nature list (IUCN), this native hornbill bird species of South Africa is under the category of Least Concern. This hornbill bird is found in abundance in the Old World.

African Grey Hornbill Fun Facts

What does the African grey hornbill look like?

The description of the African grey hornbill (Lophoceros nasutus) is not very vivid but these birds are very intelligent. This bird is a resident of Africa and is one of the largest hornbills in the world. This hornbill has gray plumage but the head, flight features, and tail are very dark in comparison. Male and female birds look a little different from each other because the female has a reddish tip bill, unlike males. The heads, wings, and tails of this hornbill have a comparatively darker shade of gray that can appear as black-brown. A white stripe extends towards the end of the tail on each side of this hornbill, making it easy to identify in the wild. The African grey hornbill has a sister species, the African hornbill zazu of the same family Bucerotidae.

African Grey Hornbill

How cute are they?

These black-white and grayish birds with a long curved bill have a very cute appearance, especially when sitting on a tree branch in some forests or woodlands. Hornbills looksquite adorable, but you should beware of their bills and do not try to tease them.

How do they communicate?

Their method of communication is quite impressive and they have very melodious ear-pleasing calls. Their call is called 'pee-o pee-o pee-o' that has many frequencies. This hornbill can give shrilling calls but only when they sense danger for them, their group mates, or the babies. Hornbills communicate with their partners when they feed or look for food for their babies.

How big is an African grey hornbill?

The African grey hornbill is in one of the large hornbills categories in the world and they are around 18 in (45.7 cm) in length. The largest bill bird in the world is the Australian pelican that has a bill with a size range of 13-18 in (34-47 cm) in length.

How fast can an African grey hornbill fly?

Not only are they intelligent and colorful birds but they also they have a very good flight range. They can fly up to 45 mph (72.4 kph).

How much does an African grey hornbill weigh?

After full growth under favorable conditions and a good environment, these birds can attain their maximum size and weigh around 0.34 lb (155 g). Another bill bird, the Toco toucan bird is three times in weight compared to this hornbill.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no name given to the male and female species of this hornbill African grey. They are called male hornbill and female hornbill.

What would you call a baby African grey hornbill?

Babies of African grey hornbill birds are called chicks, like other hornbills of class Aves.

What do they eat?

The diet of the African grey hornbill bird has a variety of food as it feeds on both plants and animals. Hornbills feed on insects, small birds, crickets, rodents, grasshoppers, caterpillars, fruits, worms, seeds, bees, and wasps. Hornbills often move from bush to bush to catch and feed on their prey.

Are they dangerous?

Though their appearance is quite big and the large white bill may scare small children, they are not as dangerous as they look. They are friendly in some way, but if they feel threatened, they won't wait to use their large bill in defense. Their bill can cause a lot damage to you and you might not want to tease a hornbill.

Would they make a good pet?

Tockus hornbills look very aggressive but to your surprise, they can become good household pets. They are very tolerant towards the presence of humans and can become more tolerant if parents are raised. Hornbills of a larger size are more suitable as pets but their size is too large for a household pet. Also, the price of hornbills is quite expensive.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The curved bill of the African grey hornbill tockus looks very heavy but actually is made up of a very light material. The light skin of keratin is used over the structure of the bill. Their bill has many small holes which act as a chamber of air. This distinctive feature of the hornbill gives them an advantage in their environment and when feeding because their bill is light weighted.

How long do African hornbills live?

The great African hornbill lifespan is about 15 years. They have one of the longest lifespans that birds can have.

Where do African grey hornbills nest?

When it comes to nesting, the African grey hornbill tockus prefers trees. African hornbill nest in tree cavities and make their nest there because they prefer to live in woodland and savannah. This bird is famous for its unique nesting technique with mud droppings, fruit pulp, and feathers. A African grey hornbill female lays two to four white eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sun bittern facts and guan facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African grey hornbill bird coloring pages.

Subscribe for virtual tools, STEM-inspired play, creative tips and more

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s and and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.