The Southern Ground Hornbill

This rather bizarre, yet beautiful bird is very distinctive not only by its size and strange looks but also for its very unusual, deep guttural call.

It sounds exactly like the hornbill is calling: “ Who ate my tortoise? Who ate my tortoise?” They in fact, do eat tortoises and any other rodent, insect, reptile or bird that is unlucky enough to be in their way while they are foraging.

They are large and black, with an eerie red skin sac at their throat and around their face, they have ice blue eyes with exquisitely long eyelashes (the only bird species that do boast eyelashes), all contributing to make this bird almost mystical.

Ground Hornbills can live up to 70 years of age and are quite human-like in their manner at times, making them even more curious. It is these human-like traits, their odd looks as well as their booming call that has led them to become the focus of many myths in Africa and they are considered sacred amongst many different tribes.

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