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]
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)
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:
seeds of Guibourtia coleosperma (Large false mopane)
fruit of Gymnosporia senegalensis (Confetti spikethorn)
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.
Not threatened, although badly affected by logging, which
severely affected the population in Zimbabwe.
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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