The Southern Ground-Hornbill (Afrikaans name, Bromvoel) was a bird that I really wanted to see in real life, it is a great big bird about the size of a turkey. On three trips to Kruger National Park we had only seen a juvenile and since then I have been searching for the sighting of an adult.
We went to Mala Mala for the New Year and our guide, Ross told us he had seen them quite often and in fact he could take us to the place where one was in a nest. Great Excitement and off we went, we could see the face of the Hornbill in the hollow of the tree but no whole bird anywhere to be seen.
We went back in the afternoon and the bird had left the nest and still no Hornbills anywhere. On our last afternoon our guide took us to another area where he said he had seen some a while ago. Off we went and my heart stopped! There they were, two of them, in the grass catching grasshoppers. For the first ten minutes I just sat there watching them, it was such an amazing sight.
Once I had, had my time filling my eyes with the sight of them, only then did I pick up my camera to capture them before they decided to leave. Our guide told us that the whole family takes turns to feed whichever parent is sitting on the nest and that as the elephants are pushing over the big trees there is less place for the Southern Ground-Hornbill to nest and resulting in these birds becoming scarcer.
The Southern Ground-Hornbill has a deep boom of a call with one bird calling “how, how-much-is-it” and the other answering in a lower voice “one-pound-two-and-six”
So happy that my dream to see this lifer has come true 🙂
Kristin Dam23 May 2013
Hello! I am a watercolor artist and an administrator for a FB page called “Paint Colorful Birds For Fun”. Each week, one of the 3 administrators pick a “Bird of the Week” for artists all over the world to paint. Next week it’s my turn and I’d like to pick the Southern Ground Hornbill. I would love to get permission from you to let the artists render their interpretations of some of your photos of this bird and obviously I’d put a link on the page for them to look at “your” birds. If this is ok with you, please let me know soon since I have to post the “Bird” on Saturday morning. Thank you!
admin27 June 2013
Yes of course you may 🙂
jan5 January 2014
I am an artist from KZN who has been commisioned to do a painting of a local farmers farm in Melmoth and he has requested a ground hornbill in the foreground as they have been nesting on his farm for as long as he can remember.
May I please use one of your pics as reference? The bird will be relatively small and only placed as
interest to a landscape.
admin5 January 2014
Thanks for your comment.
It will be fine as long as you give us credit for the photo 🙂