Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Hemprich's Hornbill (Lophoceros hemprichii)


French: Calao de Hemprich German: Hemprichtoko Spanish: Toco abisinio

Buceros (Lophoceros) Hemprichii


, 1833,

Archiko, Ethiopia


Most closely related to the L. fasciatus species-group (which see), having similar whistling calls and head-up display posture with wings closed. In the past, birds of N Kenya occasionally separated as race exsul. Monotypic.


Ethiopia (except W & SE), Eritrea, Djibouti and N Somalia to SE South Sudan, NE Uganda and N & NW Kenya.

Descriptive notes

50–58 cm; one female 297g. Small, dark brown hornbill with white belly and white third and fourth tail feathers, feathers of upperparts edged and tipped creamy. Male... read more


A long rhythmic series of piping whistles, typically accelerating and ending in 2–3 lower-pitched... read more


Occupies wooded watercourses in hilly areas and along gorges, at up to 4300 m in Ethiopian... read more

Food and feeding

Eats mainly insects, but also lizards and chameleons, and some fruits, figs and berries. Forages by moving in buoyant flight from tree to... read more


Little known. Lays mainly in Mar–May, also in Aug–Oct and Jan in Ethiopia. Territorial display ends with unique fanning of tail... read more


Apparently resident over most of range; in peripheral areas of Eritrea, Somalia and Kenya, however... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and common in Ethiopia, but local and often uncommon elsewhere. Favoured habitat often remote and inaccessible, which reduces extent of... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Hemprich's Hornbill (Lophoceros hemprichii). 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 15 September 2019).