Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus flavirostris)


French: Calao à bec jaune German: Östlicher Gelbschnabeltoko Spanish: Toco piquigualdo norteño
Other common names: Northern Yellow-billed Hornbill

Buceros flavirostris


, 1835,

Taranta Mountains, Ethiopia


Close to T. leucomelas, and in the past usually treated as conspecific, but differs in voice and bare-part colours. These two thought closely related to T. deckeni and also, more distantly, to T. monteiri and T. erythrorhynchus (and presumably with taxa previously included within these) on basis of similar calls and behaviour, and DNA studies#R. Slightly smaller birds from NE Somalia described as race somaliensis, on grounds mainly of orange markings on bill, but this character apparently variable; further research required. Monotypic.


Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia S to SE South Sudan, NE Uganda, Kenya and NE Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

40 cm; male 225–275 g, female 170–191 g. Small, black and white hornbill with spotted wing-coverts, white in outer tail, and large orange-yellow bill with only... read more


A series of cackling notes, often breaking into ‘laughter’, “roh-roh-roh-roh-roh-roh-RAH-RAH-RAH-... read more


Open thornbush savanna and Commi­phora woodland.

Food and feeding

Orthopterans and termites common in diet, together with some figs, and fruits of Commiphora and Boscia. Forages mainly on... read more


Little known. Lays in Feb–Mar in Kenya, in Mar–May (possibly Oct–Nov) in Ethiopia and Somalia. Territorial in pairs, with... read more


Sedentary in most areas, but suggested to move out of Somali lowlands into adjacent foothills... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon, but wide range includes several large reserves and areas with low human densities. Vulnerable to cutting-down of nest trees in... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus flavirostris). 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).