A family of hornbills risk it all when they take on two venomous snakes in an attempt to feed their young chick.
“I have been blessed with numerous extraordinary sightings. However, nothing could have prepared me for this incredible sighting. It all started when we spotted a family of ground hornbills. They had been walking along the H1-4. Foraging and digging the undergrowth for any possible meals.”
“The ground hornbills suddenly went into a frenzy and fixed their gaze upon something in the distance. As we inched closer, our binoculars revealed two puffadders mating, unaware of the impending danger.”
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Puff adders, like other snakes, mate by finding a partner. The male puff adders release a special scent to attract females. When a female is ready to mate, the male and female snake do a dance together. They twist their bodies and move their tongues in a unique display.
Hornbills attack puffadders in the middle of the road to feed their young.
“With calculated precision, the male ground hornbill attacked, his beady eyes focused intently on the venomous snakes. With a sudden burst of speed, he lunged towards the first puffadder. The snakes were caught off guard. Within moments, the first puff adder succumbed to the ground hornbill’s relentless attack.”
“The female ground hornbill and the chick joined the attack. They took on the other snake and also succeeded in killing it. But the birds did not stop there; they continuously attacked the snakes with their beaks and feet. Making sure that the snakes were not moving before beginning to feed.”
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Ground hornbills are classified as vulnerable due to habitat loss and poaching, making this sighting all the more precious. By witnessing their hunting prowess and nurturing behavior, one is able to develop an appreciation for the conservation efforts dedicated to protecting these magnificent birds and their habitat.