Tockus bradfieldi (Bradfield's hornbill) 

Bradfieldse NeushoringvoŽl [Afrikaans]; Rukoko (generic term for hornbills with red or yellow bills) [Kwangali]; Goto, Hoto (generic names for hornbill) [Shona]; KŰrwÍ [Tswana]; Bradfield-tok hornbill [Dutch]; Calao de Bradfield [French]; Bradfieldtoko, Felsentoko [German]; Calau de Bradfield [Portuguese]

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Tockus bradfieldi (Bradfield's hornbill)   

Bradfield's hornbill. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

 

The Bradfield's hornbill is near endemic to southern Africa, mainly occurring in Namibia, Botswana and small parts of Zimbabwe. It prefers broad-leaved woodland, feeding mainly on invertebrates, but occasionally it eats small vertebrates and seeds. It usually nests in natural tree cavities, although surprisingly, the first recorded nest of this bird was in a rock crevice in Namibia, in 1937. It usually lays 3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, for at least 28 days. The female emerges from the nest chamber when the chicks are about 32 days old, after which she helps the male in hunting for the brood. The chicks usually stay in the nest for about 50 days, only becoming fully independent when they are roughly 3 months old.

Distribution and habitat

Near endemic to southern Africa, occurring from Angola and Zambia, through north-east Namibia and northern Botswana to north-western Zimbabwe. It generally prefers broad-leaved woodland on sandy soil, especially with teak (Baikaea), false mopane (Guibourtia) and Bloodwood (Pterocarpus)

Distribution of Bradfield's hornbill in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Call

 
   

Recorded by J.B. Dunning, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe 1974, [© Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

It feeds mainly on invertebrates, catching prey aerially or hunting on the ground. It also searches for small vertebrates, especially in the breeding season, and it may even eat dry seeds. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Animals
  • Plants
    • seeds of Guibourtia coleosperma (Large false mopane)
    • fruit of Gymnosporia senegalensis (Confetti spikethorn)

Breeding

  • Its breeding habits are not well known: most of the following data coming from 3 separate studies.
  • The nest is usually a natural tree cavity, 3-7 m above ground. Once the site is chosen, the female seals the entrance from the inside with her own faeces, leaving just a narrow slit. Surprisingly, the first recorded nest of this bird was in a rock crevice in Namibia, in 1937.
  • Egg-laying season usually peaks from November-December.
  • It usually lays 3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, for at least 28 days.
  • The female emerges from the nest chamber when the chicks are about 32 days old, after which she helps the male to provide food for the brood. The chicks usually stay in the nest for about 50 days, only becoming fully independent when they are roughly 3 months old.

Threats

Not threatened, although badly affected by logging, which severely affected the population in Zimbabwe.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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