The Southern Ground Hornbill is the largest species of hornbill in the world. It reaches up to a meter in height. There are two species of ground hornbills, the other being the Northern Ground Hornbill. They are known as ground hornbills because they feed while walking on the ground and are not often seen flying. This species occurs in the savannas and grasslands of Africa, from Kenya at the north of their range to Botswana and South Africa in the south.

This specimen was purchased by the museum from the famed English ornithologist and bird artist John Gould (1804-1881) at some point between 1858 and 1868. Its original location data says it came from Abyssinia, modern-day Ethiopia, which is outside of this species' current range. This was probalby an error made when the specimen was collected or shipped to Australia but we can't be sure.

The name "hornbill" comes from the long, down-curved bill which looks something like a cow's horn. Like all hornbills the Southern Ground Hornbill has a casque, a usually hollow structure on the upper beak which appears to serve different functions in different species. In this species it is quite small.

This species is considered endangered by some countries it occurs in. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers the Southern Ground Hornbill to be Vulnerable due to the rapid population declines across much of their range.

Specimen Details


Geospatial Information