Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Western Piping Hornbill (Bycanistes fistulator)


French: Calao siffleur German: West-Schreihornvogel Spanish: Cálao silbador occidental
Other common names: Piping Hornbill (when lumped with B. sharpii)

Buceros Fistulator


, 1850,

St Paul’s River, Liberia


Hitherto considered conspecific with B. sharpii. Monotypic.


Senegal E to W Nigeria (E to R Niger).

Descriptive notes

45 cm. Medium-smallish pied hornbill with white belly and rump. Male has wings black, central secondaries broadly white-tipped, white tips to outer tail; bill and casque... read more


A fast series of nasal barks “kehkehkehkeh....” at a rate of c. 8 notes per second; also a shrill... read more


Primary evergreen forest and surrounding gallery forest, farmbush, transition woodland, mangrove... read more

Food and feeding

Much less well known than formerly conspecific B. sharpii, but fruit probably equally prevalent in diet (in Ghana observed taking... read more


Little known. Probably lays aseasonally, in Jan, Mar–Apr, Jun and Oct–Dec. Nest in natural cavity 8–15 m up in tree.... read more


Generally considered sedentary; no regular fluctuations in numbers, but some movements in Liberia (... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally common across wide range, and occurs in most large forest reserves, e.g. in Ghana, still reasonably common in Kakum, Kyabobo and Digya... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Western Piping Hornbill (Bycanistes fistulator). 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 13 November 2019).