The southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) is one of the most fascinating birds in Africa and one of the prize sightings in the conservation areas where they occur. They are conspicuous for their size, striking black plumage and red wattles, and valued for their role in cultural rituals and practices in many local cultures. The bird is an apex predator and with the exception of martial eagles, leopards and crocodiles, has few enemies. Their presence is an indicator of the health status of the savannah biome in which they usually occur.

In South Africa ground hornbills are known by a number of names: bromvoël (Afrikaans); intsikizi (Xhosa); ingududu/iNsingizi (Zulu); nghututu (Tsonga); dandila (Venda); mahutuhutu (Sepedi); and lehututu (Setswana).


HESC maintains a strict policy of no contact or interaction with animals kept on the property. Our policy is aligned with international trends based on animal ethics and welfare and is aimed at ensuring the safety and health of both animals and visitors. Our policy further endorses the right of animals to live a life without fear, which is often the consequence of close contact with humans with whom they are not acquainted. We avoid human-imprinting, whereby the animals will identify more with humans than with their own species and cause them to become problem animals once released.