Southern Ground Hornbill

The striking red and black coloration and unusual appearance make our Southern ground hornbill a popular resident of Animal Connections. It’s not surprising to learn that it is the largest kind of hornbill reaching a length of 51 inches and weighing up to 14 pounds. This species’ long eyelashes act as sunshades — protecting the hornbill’s eyes from the hot sun as it searches for food across African savannahs and grasslands. The long bill is perfect for catching and collecting food such as insects, frogs, lizards, snakes, small mammals and occasionally fruits and seeds.

Animal Connections is home to many of our animal ambassadors, including the distinctive Southern ground hornbill.

The Southern ground hornbill is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because the entire population is mainly confined to national parks and reserves. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has helped support the Mabula Ground Hornbill Conservation & Research Project, which replenishes the declining ground hornbill population through a successful captive breeding, rearing and release program.

Q: Where are Southern ground hornbills found?
SW: These ground-dwelling birds are found in the grasslands, savannahs, and woodlands of Southern Africa.

Q: Can they fly?
SW: Although these large-bodied birds are capable of flying, they rarely do so.