/hawrn"bil'/, n.
any large bird of the family Bucerotidae, of the Old World tropics, characterized by a very large bill usually surmounted by a horny protuberance.
[1765-75; HORN + BILL2]

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Any of about 45 species of Old World tropical birds (family Bucerotidae) noted for the bony helmet on the bill of some species.

Hornbills range from 16 to 63 in. (40–160 cm) long, and typically have a large head, prominent bill, thin neck, broad wings, long tail, and brown or black plumage, usually with bold white markings. They nest in cavities, usually in large trees. The male of most species walls up the female in the nest, closing the hole with mud, except for a small opening through which he passes food. The female breaks out after the eggs hatch, but the young may be walled up again.

Red-billed hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus)

Mark Boulton
The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

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      any of about 45 species of Old World tropical birds constituting the family Bucerotidae (order Coraciiformes). They are noted for the presence, in a few species, of a bony casque, or helmet, surmounting the prominent bill. Hornbills range in size from 40 cm (16 inches), in the smaller Tockus species, to 160 cm (63 inches), in the great hornbill (Buceros bicornus). They are typically large-headed, with thin necks, broad wings, and long tails. The plumage is brown or black, usually with bold white markings.

      Hornbills nest in cavities, usually in large trees. In all species except the two ground hornbills (Bucorvus), the male walls the female in the nest, closing the hole with mud, except for a small opening through which he passes food. After the eggs hatch, the female breaks out, but the young may be walled in again.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hornbill — Horn bill , n. (Zo[ o]l.) Any bird of the family {Bucerotid[ae]}, of which about sixty species are known, belonging to numerous genera. They inhabit the tropical parts of Asia, Africa, and the East Indies, and are remarkable for having a more or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hornbill — 1773, from HORN (Cf. horn) (n.) + BILL (Cf. bill) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • hornbill — ► NOUN ▪ a tropical bird with a horn like structure on its large curved bill …   English terms dictionary

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