|Copyright: Michel Detay (M_Detay)
|Date Taken: 2012-07-11|
|Camera: D3S, Nikkor 500mm f4 VR|
|Exposure: f/6.3, 1/1000 seconds|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2012-09-10 4:08|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Frog time for this Southern Ground Hornbill|
The Southern Ground Hornbill or (Bucorvus leadbeateri; formerly known as Bucorvus cafer), is one of two species of ground hornbill and is the largest of 58 Hornbill species distributed mainly in Asia, India and Africa. It is one of the iconic species of southern Africa. The ground-hornbills are the largest and heaviest of the hornbill species. They will eat grasshoppers, worms, frogs, lizards, snakes and even tortoises.
This one was strolling in Masai Mara National Park – Kenya. It is an active bird, always moving. They live in groups of up to 2 to 12 birds. They occupy and defend large territories of up to 100 square kilometers. Southern Ground Hornbills are charismatic birds, easily identifiable by their appearance and signature call.
The Southern Ground Hornbill is characterized by black coloration and vivid red patches of bare skin on the face and throat (yellow in juvenile birds), which are generally believed to keep dust out of the bird’s eyes while they forage during the dry season.
Southern Ground Hornbills can be found from northern Namibia and Angola to northern South Africa to Burundi and Kenya. They require a savanna habitat with large trees for nesting and dense but short grass for foraging. They forage on the ground, where they feed on reptiles, frogs, snails, insects and mammals up to the size of hares. Southern Ground Hornbills very rarely drink: their range is limited at its western end by the lack of trees in which to build nests. Southern Ground-Hornbill is carnivorous. It spends its time walking slowly along the ground, searching for food, mainly small animals and insects.
Owing to large scale clearing of the bird’s specialized habitat for agriculture, along with its exceedingly slow reproductive rate, the Southern Ground Hornbill is classed as Vulnerable to extinction; however, in South Africa, where most studies on the species have been carried out, it is listed as Critically Endangered and the estimated population of just around 1,500. Its South African distribution rang has decreased hugely recently, due to persecution and habitat alteration. Its range is also decreasing in areas of Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana and other areas of high human population density or extensive farming. They are widespread, but sparse, mainly confined to national reserves or protected areas. The species is classified as vulnerable in the Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Biometrics: Length: 90-130 cm; Weight: M: 3500 to 6200 g; F: 2250 to 4600 g
Longevity: 40 years
Geology: The earliest credible fossil record for Ground Hornbills is from 15 million years ago, from mid-Miocene deposits in Morocco. Later prehistoric tectonic and climatic changes split up the ranges on both the African and Asian landscapes. Now hornbills face alterations that come from human activity—including rapid, devastating changes both to habitat and to the global climate change, fragmenting many of their habitats and populations into dangerously small units, in this way threatening their survival.
GPS Latitude 1,23.2268S
GPS Longitude 35,1.1023E
GPS Altitude 1530
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