West African Pied Hornbill

Fairly often these days, changes are made as to which creature belongs to which family, genus or species it belongs. Most tend to be splits from the existing categorisation to create a sub or even new species, although mergers do occasionally, I believe, occur.

I like Hornbills, and was chuffed when I encountered this chap on a branch. Formerly the African Pied Hornbill, Lophoceros fasciatus, it has recently been reclassified as the West African Pied Hornbill, Lophoceros semifasciatus. The original African Pied Hornbill is now the Congo Pied Hornbill, Lophoceros fasciatus. Now that we have sorted that out…

West African Pied Hornbill


The West Africa Pied Hornbill is a common resident breeder in much of equatorial Africa, from The Gambia to western Uganda and northern Angola.


It is a largish bird, around 54 centimetres (21 in) in length, and it has mainly black plumage, with white belly and tail tip. The long, curved bill is a distinctive black and yellow.

West African Pied Hornbill on a branch


The female lays up to four white eggs in a hole in a tree, which is then blocked off during incubation with a mix of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow opening, just big enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks. When the chicks and the female outgrow the nest, the mother breaks out and rebuilds the wall. Then both parents feed the chicks. Nifty.

West African Pied Hornbill, The Gambia


Mainly fruit and insects.

The IOC World Bird List (https://www.worldbirdnames.org/new/updates/) is updated on a regular basis.