Yellow-casqued Hornbill

Ceratogymna elata

Red List Status: VU – Vulnerable, criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd (IUCN 2018)

Distribution: West Africa from south Senegal along the coast east to south-west Cameroon. 

Description: 60-70 cm. Male 2,100 g; female 1,500-2,000 g. From the Black-casqued Hornbill where they overlap by creamy-coloured casque (male) and by scaly white pattern on neck (both sexes). Large black hornbill with white outer tail feathers. Naked skin around eye and wattles over throat blue. Male has black crown and large black bill and creamy casque; female has brown head with yellowish-brown bill and smaller casque. Juvenile like adult female but casqueless bill smaller. 

Voice: The call is a loud resonant braying aa-aa-a. Also a hoarse croaking contact call. 

Audio from xeno-canto

Habits: Occurs in primary evergreen forest, mainly in the lowlands and often around swampy areas and riverine forest; extends into closed secondary growth and nearby plantations, recorded in hills up to 1,000 m elevation. Here it moves high in the large trees, 30-50 meters off the ground where it feeds mainly on fruits. Often feeds on oil palms and other palm fruits, but is also takes animals such as insects and millipedes. Occasionally drops to the ground to pursue prey or pick up fallen fruits. It usually moves around in pairs or in small groups of up to 12 birds, also mixes with other hornbills such as the Brown-cheeked Hornbill. It will fly far across the forest on whooshing wings to get to good fruiting trees. As such it can range widely and has been known to gather at communal roosts with up to 50 birds roosting together low down at 3-7 m up in swampy vegetation.