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Red-billed Hornbill

Tockus erythrorhynchus

Did you know?

  • This bird is an omnivore, meaning it eats plants and small animals.
  • While the males and females look similar, the female’s bill is smaller.
  • Its long, curved beak is perfect for digging.
  • It is territorial but typically only defends its territory against its own species; other hornbill species aren’t a concern.
  • A female typically lays three to six eggs at a time.


Red-billed hornbills hunt cooperatively with mongooses; the mongooses will sniff out and uncover insects, while the hornbills watch out for predators and sound alarm calls!

Trusting Pair

These birds have an interesting parental strategy. The female seals herself into a tree cavity, leaving only a small slit through which the male provides food. The female molts and regrows her feathers during this time, she breaks out when the oldest chick is 21 to 22 days old. The chicks then reseal the entrance alone, using their droppings and food remains.

Threat Level

  • Unknown
  • Common
  • Near Threatened
  • Threatened
  • Endangered
  • Critically Endangered
  • Extinct in the Wild


The Red-billed Hornbill is widespread and abundant.


Sub-Saharan Africa


Savannas, woodlands and thorn forests

We care about red-billed hornbills

The Saint Louis Zoo supports red-billed hornbills in the Bird House and Bird Garden.

Find this animal in Historic Hill


Historic Hill

Historic Hill is a lovely stroll through one of the oldest parts of the Saint Louis Zoo. From the 1904 World’s Fair Flight Cage to the Spanish architectural flavor of the 1920s in the Bird House, Primate House and Herpetarium to the finishing touches of our thoroughly modern exhibits, this area of the Zoo has a unique ambiance and a nostalgic history that make it a great destination.

Explore Historic Hill