Monteiro’s Hornbill

Tockus monteiri

Red List Status: LC – Least Concern (IUCN 2018)

Distribution: Southern Africa from central Namibia north into south-west Angola. 

Description: 50 cm. Male 370 g; female 269-423 g. From other sympatric Tockus hornbills by combination of grey plumage and reddish bill. Male has large reddish bill and dark grey bare throat skin; female has somewhat smaller bill and greenish bare throat skin. Juvenile has smaller pale orange bill with dark brown patch at base. 

Voice: The call is a series of deep, hoarse chucking notes kok-kok-kok. During territorial display the notes accelerate and become louder.  

Audio from xeno-canto

Habits: Found in savannah with dry scrub and thorn-bush vegetation; it prefers stony hills and adjacent flatlands. It occurs in the driest regions of any hornbill and can live in areas with under 100 mm of annual rainfall. Somewhat shy and weary, it feeds mainly on the ground; it hops along to hunt for insects, especially grasshoppers and crickets, but a wide variety of invertebrates is taken such as beetles, centipedes and millipedes, wasps and caterpillars. It also feeds on some vegetable matter such as fruits, seeds, flowers and bulbs that it will dig out from the ground with its strong bill. When not feeding it will rest on an elevated look-out point on a rock or a small savannah tree; the roost is in a tree or on a rock ledge if no trees are available. Where rainfall is plentiful it is territorial and sedentary; in drier areas it will wander outside of the breeding season in search of food, sometimes forming flocks, up to 47 have been recorded in one group. It will then move out of its home range and can turn up in atypical flat and sandy regions.