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 Complicated 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. Male has red eye and black eye-ring. Female smaller (including bill and casque), with white eye and red eye-ring. Juvenile much smaller, with undeveloped casque and smaller bill. BARE PARTS Massive, creamy yellow bill and casque; black base of bill. Feet black. 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


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.

Go to Birds of China page

Reach us:

Be notified every time we post. Send an email with “Subscribe” as the subject to

Donate to Shanghai Birding!

Shanghai Birding 上海观鸟