I regard Yellow-billed Hornbills (Tockus leucomelas) as being synonymous with the Kruger National Park. They favour dry woodland areas and can be seen sitting atop trees, flying across the veld, or alighting on the ground in camping areas and picnic sites in search of tasty titbits.


Even though their natural diet includes insects, spiders and seeds, they are not averse to picking up crumbs, bits of fruit or any other pickings from human braais, picnics or snacks. This hornbill frequented the parking area at Transport Dam, hopping around vehicles and looking up at their occupants in the hope of winning a titbit or two.


They are rather comical looking birds with a distinctive black and white plumage, a prominent yellow bill, short strong-looking legs, and they sport glittering yellow eyes surrounded by a patch of red skin.


Yellow-billed Hornbills are ubiquitous in the Park. If you cannot see them at first, you will certainly be alerted to their presence by the cheerful cacophony of sound as their clucking calls are picked up by others in the vicinity.



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