Battle of the hornbills
QANCIA DU PLESSIS from Modimolle writes: We saw two southern yellow-billed hornbills fighting in the Kruger Park. It was almost a fatal battle – the bigger bird grabbed the smaller one by the throat, but the smaller bird got away by biting the attacker’s wing. The scuffle lasted a few minutes. Why would they fight like this?
ABird expert LUKAS NIEMAND says: I consulted hornbill expert Alan Kemp. The picnic sites and rest camps in the Kruger are important feeding grounds for yellow-billed hornbills, especially during the dry season. If picnic sites and rest camps fall within the territory of these birds, they will announce their presence early in the morning with their kok-kok-kok call. They will also roost nearby and tend to dominate the picnic sites. Visiting individuals are sometimes attracted to the picnic sites from outside (some fly up to 15 km). In this case, a visiting bird must have entered the resident hornbill’s territory. Occasionally, these battles lead to serious injuries and even death.