Working with the University of Cape Town’s Percy Fitzpatrick Institute, Sieglinde Rode has managed to catch two adult male ground hornbills in a trap. The trap was placed in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve in Greater Kruger. The birds entered the trap in response to recordings of other hornbills teamed up with fibreglass model birds.
The birds were released and are now being monitored. The researchers are investigating the best methods of capturing the birds so that they can put radio tracking devices and identification rings on them.
This will assist in behavioural studies and allow monitoring of chicks when they fledge. It will also give an indication of how much territory each family group uses. There are estimated to be less than 1500 ground hornbills left in South Africa, with a pair of birds only fledging a chick on average every nine years.