Update on southern ground hornbills, Gumpie and Skewy

Gumpy & Skewy

In our last update about our ground hornbill couple, Gumpie and Skewy, the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project researchers were at the centre to conduct research on the effects of hormones on throat coloration, and in particularly the cause of blue throat coloration in males. Click here to read about it.

While busy with this they discovered that Skewy had laid an egg, and on closer inspection found that it was cracked. However, no one could tell why the egg was cracked. One of the factors we thought may have contributed was perhaps lack of calcium in Skewy’s diet; or that Gumpie hadn’t lined the nest properly with leaves and twigs (a duty that falls on the male).

Since then, we’ve added calcium supplements to the birds’ diet; and have also been depositing leaves and twigs that we pick up from other camps to help Gumpie with the lining of the nest.

There are also further plans to adjust the nest’s height and a better perch for Gumpie. But we will only be doing this after the breeding season so that we don’t interfere with any chances of Skewy laying another egg.
Guests to the centre can see Gumpie and Skewy during the daily tours. These two love the attention and enjoy showing off whenever guests come past their enclosure.
We are optimistic about the future of our southern ground hornbills and will keep you updated on any developments.