Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Von der Decken's Hornbill (Tockus deckeni)


French: Calao de der Decken German: Von-der-Decken-Toko Spanish: Toco de Von der Decken

Buceros (Rhynchaceros) Deckeni


, 1868,

Seyidie Province, Kenya


Closest to T. leucomelas and T. flavirostris, but close also to T. monteiri and T. erythrorhynchus (and presumably damarensis), on basis of similar calls and behaviour, and DNA studies#R. Sometimes considered conspecific with T. jacksoni. Monotypic.


Ethiopia, mainly in and E of Rift Valley, S Somalia and Kenya (except NW) to C Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

35 cm; male 165–212 g, female 120–155 g. Small, pied hornbill with white back and wing patches and white in outer tail feathers. Male with black wings and... read more


A monotonous series of cackling notes, which can be uttered singly, sometimes breaking into ‘... read more


Open, semi-arid savanna and scattered woodland, especially with Commiphora and thorn trees... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small animals, with some fruits (especially Commiphora and Cissus), seeds (e.g. Dicrostachys) and buds.... read more


Lays in Jan–Jul in Ethiopia, in Nov–Mar further S. Territorial in pairs. Nest in natural cavity 0·5–5 m up in tree... read more


Sedentary, and no movements reported, but may wander locally during periods of drought.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and locally common; significant populations in a number of large reserves and national parks, e.g. one pair/100 m in Nechisar National... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Von der Decken's Hornbill (Tockus deckeni). 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).