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Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill

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Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill also nicknamed “flying banana” because of its beak Physical

Eastern yellow-billed hornbills have black wings with white spotted wing-coverts. They have a black tail and large yellow beak with slight casque. They have black, bare skin around the eye and males have a pink skinned throat. They grow up to 16-18” in length and weigh up 6 to 10 ounces. Its diet is mainly based on seeds, small insects, spiders, scorpions, termites and ants

Habitat & Range: North-eastern Africa, they live in dry thorn fields, broad-leafed woodlands, forests, savannahs, and shrublands

Life Span: various sources estimate from 20-40 years in the wild, 50 in captivity.

Perils in the wild: Crowned eagles, leopards, chimpanzees, humans, habitat destruction

Physical Adaptations:

– Strong beak to crack seeds, and find insects

– Hornbills have huge, two-tiered beaks that cause the birds to appear top-heavy. The bill is long forming dexterous forceps. The cutting edges are serrated for breaking up food.

– The hornbill is one of the few birds that have eyelashes to shield them from sun, dust, and debris. Their eyelashes are modified feathers.

– Stocky body has air sacs under the skin over the back and shoulder area which may cushion the female from injury in her cramped nest

– The tail is utilized as a rudder in flight. It also serves as a prop, bracing the male while he clings to the nest-hole entrance.

– Strong feet provide a secure grip, particularly for the male as he perches to feed his mate through the slit in the nest hole.

– Only bird group (hornbills) in which the first two neck vertebrae are fused to support the skull

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