hornbills_loThe Southern Ground-Hornbill Research Program, which is run by the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, began in 2000 with the aim of creating a better understanding of the breeding ecology and home range use of this coperative breeding species (http://www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za/docs/behave.html).

During the breeding season that runs from October to March, the Project monitors all 58 natural and artificial nests in the Timbavati, Klaserie and Umbabat to determine the success of each breeding attempt (Figure 1). This is done to determine what makes certain groups more successful at breeding than others. During this season we also harvest second-hatched chicks which are hand-reared for the wild-release and captive breeding programmes run by the Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project (Figure 2).

Then, with the use of satellite transmitters attached to one individual in each group we are able to track their movements and calculate home range size and habitat use (Figure 3). Using this information we can better understand how Ground-Hornbills utilise this space: what habitats they favour and avoid and why. Should you wish to know more please contact the Project via email:nghututu@gmail.com.

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Figure 1. Ground-Hornbill female incubating eggs in a large natural nest.

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Figure 2. Harvesting second-hatched chicks to be hand-reared at Loskop Dam and Joburg Zoo.

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Figure 3. Satellite data showing home ranges of 6 Ground-Hornbill groups in the APNR.