Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Piping Hornbill (Bycanistes sharpii)


French: Calao de Sharpe German: Ost-Schreihornvogel Spanish: Cálao silbador oriental

Buceros sharpii


, 1873,



Hitherto considered conspecific with B. fistulator, but separated on account of outer tail feathers all white vs black with broad white tips (2); inner primaries and all secondaries all white vs all black (3); bill mainly cream vs mainly dusky brown (2); periorbital skin black vs dark blue#R (ns [1]); larger size (although duboisi seemingly as large again as sharpii is over fistulator) (1 or 2); narrow zone of intergradation along R Niger (2), although birds showing some characters of B. sharpii have been claimed as far W as Ghana#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. s. sharpii (Elliot, 1873) – R Niger in Nigeria E to W DRCongo and S to NW Angola.
  • B. s. duboisi W. L. Sclater, 1922 – Central African Republic and Congo Basin E to W Uganda, S to SC & E DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    45 cm; male 463–710 g, female 413–500 g. Medium-smallish pied hornbill with white belly and rump. Male of nominate race has wings black, white on inner primaries and all... read more


    No known differences between this species and B. fistulator.


    Primary evergreen forest (often favouring its edges) and surrounding gallery forest, also secondary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Approximately 90% of diet fruit, from at least 40 plant genera and 12 families (e.g., in Gabon, following genera recorded: Ficus... read more


    Little known. Probably lays aseasonally, in Jan–Feb, Apr, Jul and Sept–Dec in C & E Africa. Nest in natural cavity 8–15 m up in tree.... read more


    Generally considered sedentary; no regular fluctuations in numbers, but in some years may appear... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common or fairly common across wide range, and occurs in most large forest reserves. Nevertheless, it is known from just one locality in... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Eastern Piping Hornbill (Bycanistes sharpii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 July 2019).