Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)


Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)


French: Calao bicorne German: Doppelhornvogel Spanish: Cálao bicorne
Other common names: Great Pied Hornbill

Buceros bicornis


, 1758,

Bengkulu, Sumatra


Closely related to B. rhinoceros. Hybridization with latter reported both in wild and in captivity. Birds from Asian mainland have been separated as race homrai on basis of larger size, but variation seems to be clinal; SW Indian population described as race cavatus, but apparently inseparable from those in N of Subcontinent. Monotypic.


Western Ghats (SW India); S Himalayas (Garhwal and Kumaon) E to NC Myanmar, S China (W Yunnan) and Vietnam, and S to Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.

Descriptive notes

95–105 cm; male 2600–3400 g, female 2155–3350 g. Very large, pied hornbill with black band across white tail; long, deep bill, and white plumage areas of... read more


A series of short, resonant, growling “rroh” calls. In flight, pairs call antiphonally on two... read more


Large tracts of primary evergreen forest, but will cross open areas between forest patches; occurs... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fruit, rarely flowers and buds; also many large insects and other arthropods, besides various small reptiles, birds and mammals.... read more


Lays in Jan–Apr across whole range. Monogamous and territorial, sometimes engaging in aerial casque-butting. Nest in natural hole 8... read more


Largely sedentary; ranges more widely for food in non-breeding season, but without any regular... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES I. Previously considered Near Threatened. Inhabits wide range, but declining in many areas, especially in W India (estimated 3500 birds in 100 forest... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis). 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 17 July 2019).