Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu
Name: Von der Decken's Hornbill
Scientific Name: Tockus deckeni
African Names: Fimbi wa Decken (Swahili)
Length: 17 to 20 inches long
Average Adult Weight: 4 to 6 ounces
Life Span: about 10 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity
Description: The Von der Decken’s hornbill has mainly white plumage on its body with black wings and a black tail. The male has a red and ivory two-tone bill while the female has a black bill. Their long bill allows them to forage and collect food from branches. They have short, broad, and rounded wings which are efficient for short intervals of flight.
Habitat: Von der Decken's Hornbill prefers the open bush and scrubby woodlands of the dry savanna and arid steppe.
Countries found in: Von der Decken's Hornbill is found east of the Rift Valley, from Ethiopia south through Kenya to Tanzania.
Babies: The female lays two to three white eggs in a tree hole. She then seals herself in with the eggs by blocking off the hole with a type of cement consisting of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. A small opening is left for the male to bring food tp the mother and her chicks.
Food: Von der Decken's Hornbill is an omnivorous bird eating insects, snails, mice, nestling birds, lizards, tree frogs, fruit, berries and seeds.
Group Name: Flock
Habits: Von der Decken's Hornbill form monogamous pairs and nest in natural cavities in trees.
Conservation Status: Least Concern for extinction
Predators: Monkeys and snakes
Interesting Facts: Von der Decken's Hornbills have a mutual pertnership with Dwarf Mongooses. They forage together and warn each other of approaching predators.