Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Pale-billed Hornbill (Lophoceros pallidirostris)


French: Calao à bec pâle German: Blassschnabeltoko Spanish: Toco piquiclaro

Buceros pallidirostris

Hartlaub and Finsch

, 1870,

Caconda, Angola


Closely related to L. nasutus. Races occasionally hybridize at W edge of Luangwa Valley, in Zambia. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. p. pallidirostris (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1870) – EC, C & NE Angola and S DRCongo to E Zambia (W of Luangwa Valley).
  • L. p. neumanni Reichenow, 1894 – Zambia (E from Luangwa Valley), Malawi, SE Tanzania and N Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    43–50 cm; male 248–325 g, female 170–217 g. Small hornbill, pale grey and brown above, upperparts edged buffish, with white stripe behind eye and white tip... read more


    A series of high-pitched piping whistles, typically given in accelerating phrases that terminate in... read more


    Extensive stands of tall, dense deciduous miombo (Brachystegia) woodland. Where range... read more

    Food and feeding

    Few details available. Probably mainly insectivorous, but known to eat seeds and gum from damaged pods. Forages mainly among foliage;... read more


    Little known. Lays at start of rainy season, in Aug–Nov, even before many trees in leaf. Nest in natural cavity in tree, entrance... read more


    None reported, but may move locally during dry season when trees drop their leaves. Race ... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common. Large areas of habitat still exist, some of it in large reserves; occurs in Mikumi National Park, in Tanzania. Many... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Pale-billed Hornbill (Lophoceros pallidirostris). 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).