Red-billed hornbill in exhibit

Red-billed Hornbill

Scientific Name

Tockus erythrorhynchus






Sub-saharan Africa


Savannas, woodlands, and thorn forests

Estimated Wild Population

Red-billed hornbill in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Red-billed hornbills were named for their long, curved, red bill. They have a white head and chest, along with spotted wings and a long brown tail. These birds are some of the smaller hornbills, even though adults can reach up to 16 inches in length. Unlike many hornbills, they lack a casque on top of their bill. These omnivorous birds eat fruit, seeds, and insects.

Interesting Fact 1

Before laying eggs, females seal themslves inside a treehole with mud, droppings, and fruit. During this time, males pass them food through a small opening.

Interesting Fact 2

Although red-billed hornbills are normally found in small family units, they also gather at watering holes and feeding areas in flocks of several hundred.

Interesting Fact 3

The animated character Zazu in Disney’s "The Lion King" is a red-billed hornbill.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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