Silverycheeked hornbill

Bycanistes brevis

SUBFAMILY

Bucerotinae

TAXONOMY

Bycanistes brevis Friedmann, 1929, Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Monotypic.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Calao a joues argent; German: Silberwangen-Hornvogel; Spanish: Cálao Cariplateado.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

23.6-27.6 in (60-70 cm); female 2.3-3.2 lb (1.05-1.45 kg), male 2.78-3.1 lb (1.26-1.4 kg). Medium in size with distinctive silvery gray feathering on face. Black with white rump and tail coverts. High yellowish casque with dark brown bill.

DISTRIBUTION

Disjunct distribution in three major areas: Ethiopian highlands and southeastern Sudan; central Kenya through eastern and southern Tanzania and Malawi; and central Mozambique to southeastern Zimbabwe.

HABITAT

Occupies a wide range of habitats including montane and coastal evergreen forest, gallery forest and deciduous forest, and woodland.

BEHAVIOR

Non-territorial, usually found in pairs but roosts communally in groups of up to 200 birds and will fly long distances, especially during dry-season in search of rare, fruiting trees.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on a wide variety of fruit, especially figs and small, single seeded fruits and hard nuts.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Lays one to two eggs at different times of the year depending on geographic location. Incubation 40 days; fledging 77-80 days, totaling 107-138 days for the entire nesting period.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Locally common although patchily distributed. Catholic habitat requirements and high mobility make the species less vulnerable to deforestation. Important seed disperser.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Probably hunted for meat but otherwise no known significance to humans. ♦

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