Leadbeaters's (southern) Ground Hornbill

ZOO LOCATION: African Rift Valley

Lifespan: 50 years in human care

Wild Diet: Small reptiles, tortoises, frogs, snails, insects, nestling birds, small mammals and carrion (dead animals). As they hunt snakes and locusts, many tribes protect them. Forages in tall grass. Almost all food is taken from the ground.

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Habitat/Range: Savannas, woodlands and grasslands from South Africa up to Kenya.

Characteristics: Females weigh 4 to 10 pounds and males weigh 7 to 14 pounds. Leadbeater's (southern) are the largest hornbill species. Hornbills are not related to toucans, even though they have similar physical attributes. Leadbeater's long eyelashes protect eyes from sun and dust. Males have mostly red throat pouches; females have red pouches with large blue patches.

Behavior: Hornbills use their long bills to safely attach snakes, as well as hunt for bugs in piles of elephant dung.

Reproduction: In the wild, Leadbeater's hornbills live in groups made up of a breeding pair plus three to eight juveniles and/or males. They are cooperative hunters as well as breeders; everyone pitches in to help care for and feed the young.