Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)


Northern Ground-hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus)


French: Bucorve d’Abyssinie German: Sudanhornrabe Spanish: Cálao terrestre norteño
Other common names: Abyssinian Ground-hornbill

Buceros abyssinicus


, 1783,

Gondar, Ethiopia




S Mauritania, Senegal and Guinea E to Eritrea, Ethiopia, NW Somalia, NW Kenya and Uganda.

Descriptive notes

90–100 cm; male 4000 g. Very large hornbill with high casque, and yellow to orange patch at base of upper mandible; all black with white primaries. Male has bare facial... read more


A series of low-pitched hoots “ooh...uh-uh-uh”. Similar to B. leadbeateri, but booming... read more


Inhabits savanna and sub-desert scrub, with variable grass cover, including rocky and hilly areas;... read more

Food and feeding

Eats wide variety of small vertebrates and invertebrates, including tortoises, lizards, spiders, beetles and caterpillars; also takes... read more


Little known in wild. Lays mainly in Jun–Aug in W Africa, from as early as Jan in Nigeria and Uganda, or as late as Nov in Kenya;... read more


Adults apparently sedentary, but known to wander S in Kenya, then overlapping with B.... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Widespread but sparse, with estimated home range of 260 km², and more local in W Africa. Occurs in many reserves and at least eight national parks. Protected... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Northern Ground-hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus). 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 22 September 2019).