Ground Hornbill nest installed

December 2020
Artifical nest installed to increase G.Hornbill population

Project in support of the APNR Ground Hornbill Project

In the early years of the project, it was identified that there was a shortage of natural nesting sites for Ground Honrbills, and so artificial nests began to be installed throughout the area. The project now monitors 26 known nesting sites in the APNR (Associated Private Nature Reserves, Greater Kruger National Park). Of these 26 nests, only two are natural nests; the rest are artificial. From the start of the project in 2000 to the present day; a total of 139 Ground-Hornbill chicks have successfully fledged from nests in the APNR. Out of this, 109 of the chicks came from artificial nests installed by the project. Therefore, without the implementation of the artificial nests, the population of Southern Ground-Hornbills in the APNR would decline quite significantly. By providing them with viable artificial nests, we can help boost their numbers and encourage them to breed year after year. In this area, groups breed on average every three years, compared to every nine years in Kruger National Park, which can be attributed to the limited number of viable nesting sites. The increased breeding activity within the APNR also provides the opportunity to expand the population to areas surrounding these reserves.  

With thanks to our Donors, we were able to donate an artifical nest to support this project!

New nest name: "Leadbeteri"  from the scientific name for Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri

 Installation

The new nest installed was designed and constructed by the Mabula Ground-Hornbill Project made of polystyrene for insulation and M1 composite as the strong outer shell. The nest was installed in the southern Timbavati (Associated Private Nature Reserves) within the territory of the 'Kempiana' group of birds. This group is comprised of about 4 or 5 Ground Hornbills. It was decided to install this nest as the group lost their natural nest in 2019. The cavity (natural nest) degraded and toppled over largely due to insect damage. The group successfully fledged a nestling in February 2017 and their last attemptto breed at the end of 2017 was sadly unsuccessful and the group abandoned the nest (possibly due to it's deterioration).  

The new nest site was chosen on it's locality, within 1km of their previous nest, and in a quiet spot far enough from a road to minimise disturbance to the birds. The tree chosen was a Leadwood (Combretum imberbe); Chosen specifically for its large size, strength and resistance to insect borers and elephant impact. This will hopefully provide the birds with a nest and nesting location for many years to come.

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