Coraciiformes TAG

Coraciiformes Taxon Advisory Group -

Northern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus)
SSP Manager: Roger Sweeney - Virginia Zoo

The adult male northern ground hornbill has plumage that is all black except for white primaries. The skin surrounding the eyes is blue, while the inflatable region of the throat is red on the sides and bottom with a blue patch at the front. The eyes are dark brown. The legs and feet are black. The bill is all black with a triangular-shaped yellow to orange colored patch near the base of teh upper mandible. The casque of the northern ground hornbill is at the base of the bill and has two ridges running along each side. The casque ends with the distal end remaining open. Height of the male is approximately 90-100cm and the weight is in the 4.0kg range.

The plumage of the female northern ground hornbill is overall similar to that of the male, however she does not have the red area of the throat found on the male. Overall body size is smaller than the male.




The range of the northern ground hornbill is sub-saharan African savannahs almost exclusively north of the equator. They can be found in Sengal, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic,
Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zaire, Uganda, and Kenya.


Typically found in areas of drier savannah including areas with limited grass cover such as steppes and rocky outcroppings. Elevation ranges up to approximately 3200 meters in Ethiopia.




A paper titled Incubation and Hand-Rearing of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills detailing the incubation and hand-rearing of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills was written by Jo Gregson of Paignton Zoo.


Northern Ground Hornbill Gallery

Northern Ground Hornbill Bibliography