Also known as Bucorvus abyssinicus, the Abyssinian Ground hornbill is one of the unique birds of Africa thriving to the north of the Equator where it is explored on Africa birding safaris including birding safaris in Uganda.
The Abyssinian Ground hornbill is noted to be one of the two species of ground hornbill and is a bit smaller that the southern ground hornbill but altogether are noted to be the Africa’s largest hornbill species.
It appears as a large black land dwelling hornbill displaying white primary feathers while in flight. The mature male is marked with a blue bare skin around the eye, bare patch on the neck that is inflatable, red throat, long black bill apart from the red patch that is found at the mandible base as viewed on Uganda safaris and tours. The female is similar though smaller in size and its bare skin is completely dark blue.
The Abyssinian ground hornbill can stretch to 90 – 100cm in height and 4kg in weight. They thrive in open habitats including; sub-desert scrub, savannah along with rocky areas which have short grass to facilitate their technique of visual foraging. This hornbill can thrive in ecologically disturbed areas though it requires large trees for nesting.
They live in pairs and patrol their territories by walking and can only fly upon alarming since they are reluctant fliers. The Abyssinian ground hornbill feeds on small invertebrates and vertebrates including lizards, tortoises, spiders, caterpillars and beetles. The bird can as well consume some fruits, carrion, groundnuts and seeds. They are active during day making their viewing possible while on a birding safari in Uganda.
The Abyssinian ground hornbill thrives in countries of Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea, Senegal and Mauritania. And regarding conservation, it is listed as species of Least Concern on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). But their predators include large carnivores like leopards and humans.