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Von der Decken's Hornbill - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Jankees
Tsavo East, Kenya, October 2003

Alternative names: Decken's Hornbill

Tockus deckeni


Photo © mikemik
Tarangire, Tanzania, April 2018

35cm (13¾ in). A small, pied Hornbill.

  • White underparts
  • Black wings with white middle secondaries and middle greater-coverts
  • Long black tail, outer rectrices white
  • White head with black around eye and on crown
  • Red bill and casque with yellow outer half
  • Fleshy throat skin

Females are smaller and have a smaller black bill and casque.
Juveniles have a small dark horn bill with yellow patches and spotted wing-coverts.

Similar species

Jackson's Hornbill has spotted wing-coverts.


Eastern Africa, especially to the east of the Rift Valley, from Ethiopia south to Tanzania.
Widespread and locally common.


This is a monotypic species.
Jackson's Hornbill was formerly considered a subspecies of this species.


Thorn scrub and similar arid habitats.


Photo © by peterday
Sof Omar, Ethiopia, November 2013


The diet includes insects, fruit and seeds.
Forages mainly on ground but also high up in fruiting trees.


Breeding season February to July. 2-4 white eggs are laid in a tree hole, which is blocked off with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow opening, just big enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks. Once the chicks and the female are too big to fit in the nest, the mother breaks out and rebuilds the wall, then both parents feed the chicks.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 2001. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334306

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