I was just going through some of my older bird-watching photos, and as always I was left feeling amazed at the amazing array of bird life that can be found in the bush-veld of Africa, and I marveled at some of the shots hosting various of the African Horbill species. It left me pining to hear their calls as I used to sit on the porch and indulge in my morning coffee. Now I am stuck in the city, far from home, and photos is all I have to take me back to those moments - For now at least.
The African Horbill always seemed a bit out of place, somewhat animated but mostly odd, with its not quite tropical yet not quite bush-veld appearance, but somehow, they never could stop putting a smile on my face...
I mean just look at this odd little fella, a young yellow bill, that graced us with his presence one morning while out in the Kruger national park, still a juvenile I am guessing - but he certainly saw no threat in having humans in his space.
While just a bit further on his more people-shy counterpart was observing us from a distance, and judging by the damage on his beak, I am guessing that he had, had his fair share of tempting fate. Not that I think the damage on his beak was caused by humans, more likely a close encounter of a predator of some sorts by the looks of it.
I wanted to share their unique call with you, something so native to the African bush-veld and I managed to find the above clip on youtube
Then of course the very closely related Southern red billed hornbill - not quite as odd looking, but still seemingly out of place.
And then of course the much more serious looking trumpeter hornbill that I managed that I managed to capture through the lens
But by far the strangest looking of all our commonly found hornbills, must definitely be the endangered Ground hornbill. Its stern demeanor lets you know, that he means business, yet his odd features almost entices you to make eye contact, stare and brave your chances until you finally realize that this mean machine is not quite as aggressive as he appears...
I know that I can certainly not wait to get back home and appreciate these fascinating birds of Africa once again...
Until then I hope to stay lost in this moment just a little bit longer :D