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Coraciae: Bucerotiformes - Hornbills, Ground Hornbills
 
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Coraciae
Bucerotiformes - Hornbills, Ground Hornbills
Upupiformes - Hoopoes, Wood Hoopoes, Scimitar-bills
Trogoniformes - Trogons
Coraciiformes -
   Rollers, Ground-Rollers, Cuckoo-Rollers
   Motmots, Todies, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters
Galbuliformes - Jacamars, Puffbirds
 
Images:   
Great Hornbill, Eurasian Hoopoe, Narina Trogon, Quetzal, Collared Trogon,
Violaceous Trogon, White-tailed Trogon, Indian Roller, Tody, Laughing Kookaburra,
White-throated Kingfisher
, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, European Bee-eater,
Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Puffbird
 
  Order Bucerotiformes - Hornbills
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  Hornbills have a long, down-curved bill, some bearing a casque on the upper mandible. The bill is often brightly colored. Their plumage is usually black and white. They have bare skin around the eye, sometimes on the throat and they have prominent eyelashes. Hornbills are the only birds with the first cervical vertebrae (axis and atlas) fused together.
 
  Family Bucerotidae - Typical Hornbills
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  54 (57) species, 8 genera (Sibley and Monroe, 1990, Clements, 2007) or 49 species in 13 genera (Dickinson, 2003, and Harris, 2009). Africa, southern Asia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea and other Pacific islands. Their closest relatives are probably the hoopoes and wood hoopoes and scimitarbills.
   Hornbills range from medium to very large (up to 4 kg).  Many hornbills have a large, horny casque (filled with cancellous bone) on top of the long, down-curved bill. Their bill, casque, bare facial skin, feet, and eyes are variously and brightly colored. A distinct area on the head supports special tissue for growing the keratin sheath of the bill. They are holorhinal with impervious nares and a short tongue, barbed at its base. Their neck muscles are massive. Several smaller species lack the casque. They have long, flattened "eyelashes" on the upper eyelid. They have binocular vision although the bill may intrude on their visual field. Sexual dimorphism is common; males are larger than females and have a more colorful casque. Feathers of the head, neck and body are coarse and hair-like. Those of the belly and legs are loose or fluffy. Several species have head and face feathers that form a loose crest or can be erected during displays.
   They have large rounded wings and a long tail (the tail has elongated central feathers in several species). Their legs are short and their feet are strong and zygodactyl. The second and fourth toes are joined (syndactyl) to the third. There are 14 cervical vertebrae in Hornbills. The first two vertebrae (atlas and axis) are fused (to better support the head?)- a unique trait. The syrinx is tracheobronchial with one pair of muscles. Their skin is highly pneumatic. Their appendicular skeleton is also highly pneumatic but the dorsal vertebrae, ribs, sternum, and pectoral girdle are not. There are no caeca. Bucorvus lacks both carotids (other vessels supply the head) and others have only the left carotid. They have no down. Feathers have no aftershaft. There are 11 (or 10) primaries and 10 rectrices. The brood patch is feathered (except in Bucorvus).
   Their plumage color is from melanin - they lack colored pigments and most are black and white. Hornbills may be paired or often join to form family groups - some use communal roosts. They forage actively, converging on fruiting trees but segregating resources by height or foraging technique. Most fly slowly with deep wing-beats. They are noisy and conspicuous, calling to maintain pairs or family groups. In some species, these may resonate using the cavities in the hollow casque. They are found in evergreen forest or open savanna. They are are omnivorous but may specialize on fruit, insects, or small animals. The frugivorous species usually live in forests; others are found in open edges.
   Hornbills usually form monogamous pairs and many remain together year round. Some may have nest helpers. They usually nest in tree holes. They may use earth banks or other sites if cavities are not available. The female chooses the site and closes the entrance with excrement, mud, and sticky food to entomb her in the cavity. This unique behavior protects the nest from a variety of predators and from competing hornbills. Females lay 2 eggs in larger species and  up to 4 white pitted eggs in smaller species. The female undergoes a simultaneous molt while entombed. When the family is too massive for the hole, the female breaks out and young leave the nest when half grown. In larger species the female may remain in the nest for up to 130 days.
 
Hornbill
Great Hornbill, Buceros bicornis.
Brehms Tierleben, 1892
 
 
  Family Bucorvidae - Ground Hornbills
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  2 species, 1 genus (Bucorvus). Sub-Saharan Africa.
   These are large, terrestrial birds (unlike other hornbills) that also have a massive, pointed bill. They have a large head. One species has a short casque, they other a long ridge. The have long eyelashes and areas of bare skin around the eyes and inflatable throat. Their body is large and they have broad, rounded wings, a short tail, and robust legs and strong toes.
   They are black with white primaries. Males have colored facial and throat skin. There are 15 cervical vertebrae.
   They occur in pairs or family groups of 3. Southern Ground Hornbills, Bucorvus leadbeateri, forage in groups of up to 8, digging, walking, or running after prey and they may climb trees in pursuit.
   They are generally quiet but when breeding they can inflate their throat sacs and utter deep booming notes.
   They live in open woodlands, savanna, and wooded grasslands. They eat mostly insects but may take small vertebrates. Northern birds may also eat carrion, fruit, and seeds as well.
   Ground hornbills are monogamous. In the Southern Ground Hornbill, B. leadbeateri,  there may be several helpers. They nest in a cavity lined with leaves and grass. However, the entrance is not sealed. The female incubates 2 eggs for ~43 days. Young fledge at 80-90 days (but the second chick is unlikely to survive in the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, B. abyssinicus).
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
     
  Banner - Hornbill (woodcut). Brehms Tierleben. 1892.