This family of hornbills were watching their parent walk around and parade with their prized catch when an eagle swooped in to steal it away!
Gerrie Smit from Kruger Gateway Safaris captured this unique scene on camera and shared his story and footage with LatestSightings.com.
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“We left Lower Sabie Rest Camp and decided to travel up the H10 tar road in search of the very rare Sable Antelope found around the area. On the way to their last known location, we were lucky enough to spot some hornbills in the distance.”
“Having spotted this family of endangered Hornbills, we thought, wow, we should definitely make the most of this sighting, and we decided to watch the family of six go about their business. After only a few minutes of watching them, we realized that one of the adults had caught a small francolin and had it tightly gripped and held in its beak.”
Ground hornbills are considered endangered for a few reasons. One major factor is the loss of their natural habitats due to human activities like agriculture, which leaves them with less space to live and find food. These birds also have a slow rate of reproduction, with only a few chicks born every few years, making it challenging for their populations to recover quickly.
Eventhough Southern Ground Hornbills are so rare, we here at LatestSightings.com have written a blog on where to find these amazing birds.
“The adult Hornbill was parading and showing its prize to the rest of the family. The juvenile Hornbills kept following their dad around, thinking that dad was giving them a free meal, so they tried to take it from him. But he was not letting it go under any circumstances.”
“All this commotion attracted some unwanted attention; out of nowhere, a tawny eagle came swooping in but was unsuccessful in his attempt to steal the francolin! The adult hornbill held onto its prize and was able to keep it. But then in a turn of events another Tawny eagle came flying in; and he too dived right in and landed right in the middle of all of them. The chaos and confusion was just too much for the adult Hornbill, and he ended up dropping his lunch that he worked so hard for.”
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“Then, as the Hornbills were still trying to figure out what happened, the 2nd eagle picked up the francolin and, in a blink of an eye, jumped up from the middle of the hornbills and flew off to the closest tree. That’s the only place he could go to enjoy his stolen meal in peace.”
“This whole story played out in just a few minutes, but it’s a sighting that I will certainly never forget! We did end up finding the sable, by the way.”