Crowned Hornbill ( Tockus alboterminatus, family: Bucerotidae) in the KNP

crowned hornbill kruger national park birds The Crowned Hornbill (Latin name Tockus alboterminatus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 460 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 153 also a picture of the Crowned Hornbill on page 160. The Crowned Hornbill belongs to the family of birds classified as Bucerotidae.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Crowned Hornbill is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

Kruger Park Crowned HornbillOne of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Crowned Hornbill is a largish bird about the same size as a Pied Crow. The height of the Crowned Hornbill is about 54 cms and its weight is about 205 gms

The male and female Crowned Hornbill have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is yellow.
  • Bill is red.
  • Throat is black.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Crowned Hornbill feeds on the ground and on wing mainly




The nesting habit which is similar for most hornbills is of particular interest ...

Mating pairs of the Hornbills inspect potential nesting sites (holes in tree trunks) together. A good nesting hole will preferably face north out of the direct prevailing winds and to get good access to heat from the morning sun.

Once approved the base of the hole will be lined, by the female, with dry leaves or bits of bark. In preparing to lay eggs inside the nest the female will close up the entrance hole using its own faeces until only a slit is left open through which the male can bring food to the female.

Eggs are normally layed after the first good rains and about 5 days after the female has secured itself in the nest. It seems a high percentage of these nesting birds have access to a bolt or escape hole at some position higher than the nesting floor level or incubation chamber.

While inside the nest the female uses the opportunity to moult all its feathers (all birds do molt but normally on a piece-meal basis and not as aggressively as the hornbills do). The molting feathers also create extra nesting materials for the fledgling chicks.

A typical clutch of eggs is 4 layed over a period of days and the chicks hatch in the order the eggs are laid. As the young develop they learn to squirt their droppings through the slit entrance to the nest.

The female leaves the nest when the oldest chick is between 3 and 4 weeks old and the chicks reseal the nest.

There are normally 2 broods of youngsters raised a few months apart. It is unusual for more than 2 chicks to survive and learn to forage with their parents.

The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 5

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Crowned Hornbill are: woodlands

You will normally see the Crowned Hornbill in flocks.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Umkholwane

Zulu ... umKholwane

Afrikaans ...Gekroonde Neushoringvol

German ... Kronentoko

Portuguese ... Calau-coroado

French ... Calao couronn

Dutch ... Kuiftok

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 460

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,