Lophoceros Nasutus

STATUS: Least concern


Our African grey hornbill’s, currently named Mr and Mrs, are a fantastic species to join the park in 2023. With under 10 in the UK collections, our pair are very important. They are both very vocal and can often be heard calling their high pitch shrills across the park. They love insects and if you manage to see them at feeding time, check out how well they can catch!


African grey hornbill is widespread over much of sub-Saharan Africa. It prefers open woodland and savannah.


The African grey hornbill is omnivorous, taking insects, fruit and reptiles. It feeds mainly in trees.


The female lays two to four white eggs in a tree hollow, which is blocked off during incubation with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, just large enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks.


The IUCN Red List categorizes the African grey hornbill as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant immediate threats to its survival.


Did you know?

  • In spite of it’s top heavy appearance the beak of the grey hornbill is made up of a light skin of keratin overlying a bony support. The beak has lots tiny holes that are air chambers, resulting in the beak being incredibly light. The large bill may be the reason why hornbills have the first two neck vertebrae fused together.
  • Nesting african grey hornbills are monogamous.
  • When nesting natural cavities are used.
  • The female lays two to four white eggs.
  • The female undergoes a molt of all her flight and tail feathers at the time of egg laying. These are re-grown by the time she emerges from the nest.
  • To protect their young from predators the female seals herself inside the nest using mud, droppings, fruit pulp and her own feathers, leaving only a narrow slit through which the male will feed her and the young. Her mate will bring her and the chicks food as often as 10-20 times a day.
  • When the chicks are about half-grown, it gets a little cramped inside the nest, the female will break out and rebuild the wall. Both parents will then feed the chicks.
  • The young grey hornbills break their way out of the nest only when they are ready to fledge.