Willem Kruger, South Africa
– it can be difficult for a photographer to get a clear shot among the scrub.
The bird feeds this way because its tongue isn’t long enough to pick up insects as, say, a woodpecker might. And though its huge bill restricts its field of vision, it can still see the bill’s tip and so can pick up insects with precision.
What Willem was after, though, was the hornbill’s precision toss, which he eventually caught, after a 40-minute wait. Using the tip of its massive beak like forceps, this hornbill would flick termite after termite into the air and then swallow them. Foraging beside a track in South Africa’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the southern yellow-billed hornbill was so deeply absorbed in termite snacking that it gradually worked its way to within six metres (19 feet) of where Willem sat watching from his vehicle.
Though widespread, this Southern African hornbill can be shy, and as it feeds on the ground – mainly on termites, beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars
Nikon D3S, Nikon 600mm f/4 lens, 1/5000 sec, f/4, ISO800