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Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/11, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Loot's Favourites 1, Animals feeding, part one [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-09-03 7:15
Viewed: 7668
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 96
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill or Northern Ground-Hornbill, Bucorvus abyssinicus, is one of two species of Ground-Hornbill.
The other is the Southern Ground-Hornbill.

The Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill is an African bird, found north of the equator, south of the Sahara. Groups of ground-hornbills have territories of 2-100 square miles. They are diurnal, weigh about three kilograms, and have long bare legs for walking.
It is a large Turkey-size black bird with a long, decurved bill and conspicuous blue face and white primaries in flight. Size: 90-100 cm. Tall casque tilts upward at front. Male has bare red throat patch. This is the female.

In captivity, they can live 35-40 years. Diet in the wild consists of a wide variety of small vertebrates and invertebrates, including tortoises, lizards, spiders, beetles, and caterpillars; also takes carrion some fruits, seeds, and groundnuts.

Habitat: Dry savanna and open grasslands.

Status: Thinly and patchily distributed.

Voice: Deep, booming call, faster and slightly higher pitched than that of the Southern Ground-Hornbill.

(Sources: Wikipedia and ‘Birds of Africa, South of the Sahara’ by I. Sinclair and P. Ryan)

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Critiques [Translate]

great and sharp capture of this impressive bird, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-09-03 7:29]

Hi Peter

I knew this was the Abyssinian before I looked at the country - the blue head - I saw a couple near Gondor, but not close enough to photograph - you were much luckier - to able to capture this fine image.


  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-09-03 7:38]

Hola Peter,
excelente captura y buen pov,
detalles y sorprendente ave...

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-09-03 7:48]

Hello Peter
Great portrait shot but also great moment. As always perfectly composed with good sharpness and great OOF background.
Very good job.
Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-09-03 8:36]

Hello Peter,
This is great! The sharpness, composition, OOF habitat BG and POV contribute to make this a superb portrait of an Abyssinian Ground Hornbill with a small snake prey in its bill.
I like this very much and want it in my favourites!

Hi Peter,
What an extraordinary looking bird! The shape of its head and those blue markings are just amazing.The DOF is just perfect to make it stand out....and I like the decisive moment as it catches lunch.An interesting note.....well done.
Regards, david

Hi Peter,

I am used to the Southern hornbill with the red markings so this image is interesting. Good technically and the prey in the beak adds spice the photo.


Hi Peter,
great looking shot!I love how this bird looks as if it came from directly out of the Jurassic,it is so dinosaur like in appearance.It must of been a hot and hazy day when you took this photo as those conditions mute the look of photos somewhat but that in of itself is not a bad thing.You have good detail and a decent focus for this bird and the best part of it all is the fact that it has caught something to eat.What is that something-a snake perhaps? An interesting species and thank you for giving us all this view. Bob

Hi Peter
Great bird. Perfect OOF background, good sharpness. Maybe you could work with levels a little bit
Best wishes

Hi Peter!

I just have discovered your intro and your gallery. Your pupils at school can be proud to have a teacher that knows so much about our planet. It's impressive to see where you already have been and your gallery is full of magnificent pictures like this one here. I also appreciate the interesting and instructive notes.

Kind regards


  • Great 
  • taba Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 466 W: 124 N: 312] (1847)
  • [2008-09-03 10:10]

Hi Peter

great capture with a stunning moment of the "Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill"

nice colors, sharpness and colors and yet the BG..

well done.



Hallo Peter,

Mooie plaat van deze vogel met een pooi in zijn snavel.
Prachtige pov en details in de veren.


Hallo Peter,
Had zo iets van 'wow'. In Kruger zeiden ze me dat ik geluk had een 'Southern' versie gespot te hebben en gefotografeerd.
Ze zijun blijkbaar verzot op slangen. Ik heb de 'Southern' ook kunnen fotograferen met een slang.
Heb je ook gezien hoe ze die naar binnen werken:-)
Zeer interessant om te vergelijken:here.
Prachtig moment. Ook de 'Ethiopische' achtergrond is discreet aanwezig.

Hi Peter good capture. nice sharp image. Never came across this one. Good Notes too. TFS regards - Adil.

quel etrange oiseau, on dirait un artificiel...ce bleu au niveau de la gorge...excellente netteté, prise au bonmoment...
merci pour la note egalement

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-09-03 12:44]

Hello Peter, wonderful shot of this strange ground-hornbill in its very nice moment. TFS.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-09-03 12:54]

Hi Peter

What an interesting capture!
I really like the moment you've caught here and the good settings you managed to apply.
The hornbill is very well rendered here - with good detials and lovely colors - while the action is well frozen. Further more, the DOF allows a clear view for the bird but blurrs the BG just enough.
Good work!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-03 13:17]

HI Peter,

Another amazing looking bird - and this one with a snake dangling from his beak! He is something to look at with the beautiful blue around his eye and the orange on his beak. The details of his face and feathers are superb. Composition and setting are wonderful.


  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-09-03 14:03]

Hi Peter

A great capture of this impressive bird. You made full use of this rare opportunity.

The f/11 aperture ensured excellent details of the bird, but still isolated the subject from the distant mountain BG. Lovely colour rendition that brought out the blue eye make-up and blue neck pouch. The composition is good with the bird placed slightly to the left while standing on the "ridge" of the mount which gave lovely scale and perspective to the shot.

Well done and TFS.

Hi Peter
Excellent shot!

Hi my dear friend Peter, What great shot of this strange -at least for me:)- Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill with great details, POV/DOF and compositon!
Many thanks sharing this beauty.


What a marvelous photo of a bird unfamiliar to me. The details are superb. The addition of the prey adds even more interest to the shot. It's an amazing bird. Thanks for sharing it.

Evelynn : )


That's a great shot! I love the composition, eye contact and the overall picture setting. I think you've done a great job here and what a bird! It definitely looks a lot different from the stuff flying around here :) Great work, thanks for posting.

Best Regards,


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-09-03 20:02]

Hello Peter! What an incredible bird! And a very nice capture too, well done my friend!


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-09-03 20:44]

Hello Peter,
Fantastic capture, this is a great POV. You composed very well
and the image is sharp and colorful.. Well done!
Ps.. Nice to see your photos again after being gone for a



Very unusual bird! The composition, POV, DOF and BG are great. The sharpness and detail of the image are good and make a good pic of this unusual sighting.


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-09-04 4:22]

Oh Peter,what a incredible beauty of nature! And what a fantastic moment to take the pic!Right on the National Geographic Magazine,this is a great artwork,thanks a lot for share,Luciano

This is the first I'm seeing of this variety of hornbills, Peter!Very well documented!The shot is impeccable!

Hello Peter,
I loved the pose and the dof in this awesome image of the Hornbill!!
You got the best exposure and focus here to achieve the best sharpness, good colour and details!
the clarity on the plummage is first class!
well done
take good care and sincere regards

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-09-04 22:15]

Hi Peter,
Fantatsic image of this strange looking fellow, thanks for sharing.

Hello Peter,
it is very interesting looking bird. I saw it formerly only book and documentary films. You captured it with a great shot when it feeds. I think it eats a fish from like mastacembellus. great focus and POV. superb colors and timing. TFS, best wishes

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-09-05 5:45]

Hi Peter,
What an amazing bird! Pose you captured, POV, details and sharpness look very good. TFS

Ciao Peter, fantastic bird in great pose with splendid colors, fine details and good sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-09-05 12:32]

Hello eter,
Wow, what a terrific Hornbill very nicely shown here in a fine pose having just caught a
nice meal! Great focus, sharp details and fine colours. I like the soft background and the composition is excellent.
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-09-05 23:24]

Hi Pater,
Wonderful shot of this great looking Hornbill with a catch. Very impressive sharpness and details and I like its cool and composed pose. Excellent DOF, POV and composition. Thanks for sharing this fine image.

Hi Peter,
A nice capture of this beautiful hornbill. Very well composed with sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-09-06 1:12]

Hello Peter,
Good shot of the Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill with his lunch in his mouth - what is it - a snake or eel?
What an awesome looking bird it is with that wonderfully patterned face
Well captured

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-09-06 3:16]

merhaba peter
beautiful and interesting bird for me and i see wonderful capture of this
i like composition, POV, BG, light, colours and details

Hi Peter,
Excellent in the wild capture Peter!
You've done very well, wonderful image here :)

Hi Peter!
Your collection of birds of the world is growing all the time! My best congratulations! And also big thanks because we all can learn and see something interesting thanks to your professional hobbies :)
This species is perfectly captured, I just wonder if the prey is a snake or some species of fish :)
Good and informative note too.
TFS and have a nice Sunday!

  • Great 
  • radz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 598 W: 11 N: 72] (436)
  • [2008-09-17 20:17]

What a catch,spot on exposure.
Nice POV&Composition.TFS!

  • Great 
  • RII Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 481 W: 0 N: 895] (2862)
  • [2008-09-18 13:02]

Hi Peter.

Very nice portrait of this rare bird,excellent compostion, colors and sharpness,good note.


  • Great 
  • RP1 Gold Star Critiquer [C: 154 W: 1 N: 6] (251)
  • [2008-09-21 12:04]

Hi Peter,
Superbe oiseau. les couleurs et la composition est excellente.

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2008-12-21 19:13]

Hi Peter, An excellent capture of this hornbill with a snake or worm it his beak. The DOF effect is terrific, keeping the focus on the subject rather than being distracted with the background. TFS. Murray,

son of a ... it's a reptile?

不错(very nice)

Hello Peter

Great timing from you to capture this
Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill because he
has a prey on his beak, with fine POV
and appropriate vertical framing,
beautiful light, excellent focus,
sharpness, and details, TFS


Dear Peter

I apologize for my late acknowledgement of your contribution, but I had eye problems...thanks for adding your work to my theme
We had one ( male according to your notes) on the farm.

It made "funny noises" and walked very sedately like a secretary bird.

It is fun for me to find one in my theme.

Thanks and warm greetings

Hello Peter- Here it is! Beautiful Bird. You were lucky to get such well BG. I like your PP work. I should try RAW next time. f/11...well chosen. Thanks for sharing and your information about this bird. Regards- Srikumar

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