Great Hornbill

Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis occurs in China only in southern and western Yunnan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Old-growth forests, usually in pairs or small parties, to 1500 m (4,920 ft.). Eats mainly fruits, especially figs, but also small mammals, reptiles, and birds. Noisy. Often seen flying over forest. ID Complex pied plumage. Face, forecrown, and upper throat black; rest of head, nape, throat, and neck creamy yellow. Body mostly black, with white vent and white undertail and uppertail coverts. Wings also mainly black, with white tips of greater primary and secondary coverts, as well as tips and bases of flight feathers (forming wing band and trailing edge). Tail white with black subterminal band. BARE PARTS Massive, creamy yellow casque and bill with black base of bill. Feet black. Male has red eye and black eye-ring. Female smaller with white eye and red eye-ring. Juvenile much smaller, with undeveloped casque and smaller bill. VOICE Call short, loud, deep, like the barking of a dog; slightly accelerating; often in duets. Similar bark of Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis is noticeably higher-pitched. ​​— Craig Brelsford

THE HORNBILLS OF CHINA covers all five members of the family Bucerotidae that occur in China. Click any link:

Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis
Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris
Austen’s Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus austeni
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis
Wreathed Hornbill Rhyticeros undulatus


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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