Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Western Little Hornbill (Horizocerus hartlaubi)


French: Calao de Hartlaub German: Hartlaubtoko Spanish: Toco negro occidental
Other common names: Black Dwarf-hornbill (when lumped with H. granti)

Toccus [sic] hartlaubi


, 1861,

Fanti, Ghana


Hitherto considered conspecific with H. granti. Race nagtglasii treated as synonym. Monotypic.


S Sierra Leone and S Guinea E to S Cameroon and SW Central African Republic, and S to Gabon and Congo.

Descriptive notes

32 cm; male 96·6–135 g, female 83·4 g. Small, mostly black hornbill with broad white eyestripe, white tip to tail and dark bill. Male has casque reaching... read more


A series of 2–3 high-pitched whistling notes or single high piping notes, as well as a plaintive “... read more


Inhabits higher subcanopy areas of tall evergreen, semi-evergreen and gallery forest, especially... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, especially larger beetles, locusts, mantids and grasshoppers, but also smaller ones such as hairy caterpillars; also large... read more


Little known. Lays aseasonally, in Feb, Jun or mainly Oct–Dec, in W Africa (vocal activity highest in Sept–Dec in Liberia); in... read more


Probably sedentary and territorial throughout year, with home range of one pair in Gabon estimated... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Secretive and relatively quiet, but probably locally common. Range has unquestionably declined, at least locally, due to deforestation, e.g. in Ghana... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Western Little Hornbill (Horizocerus hartlaubi). 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 16 September 2019).