Silvery-cheeked Hornbill

By Ngoni Shumba

With habitat loses threatening silvery-cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes brevis) – a large species of hornbill found in tall evergreen forests of East Africa from Ethiopia to north eastern parts of South Africa, there was something special about getting to see one at Chimanimani Hotel.

As is the norm with this species, with the exception of classic food searching movements, this majestic bird has been around for a few months in this area pointing to it potentially incubating somewhere close by.

This suspicion is particularly strengthened by the fact that they breed around September and October. They lay clutches of one to three white eggs which are incubated for 40 days. The young remain with both parents for about 80 days.

It is a monogamous species, which nests in holes in trees and lives either in pairs or in small family groups.

Its omnivorous and feeds on fruit, insects, eggs and small vertebrates, such as lizards and small birds.