Introducing Ronnie, the Trumpeter Hornbill

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Last June Reid Park Zoo welcomed the hatch of a baby trumpeter hornbill to parents Nancy and Henry. Nancy was sealed in her nest log for 97 days with the chick before they both emerged to meet the public. Since that time we have been able to determine the sex of the chick, a female, and give her a name! Animal care staff chose the name Veronica, and call her Ronnie for short.

Today Ronnie is almost at her adult size, and her casque is starting to develop. A casque is a decorative growth on the upper bill that is thought to aid in sound amplification of hornbill’s calls. One of the best ways to tell the trio apart currently is by observing these casques. Henry has the largest casque, Nancy is in the middle, and Ronnie has the smallest.

The animal care staff that work with Ronnie describe her as smart, curious, and playful. She is bold like her father, and readily explores novel items in her habitat. She is also quick to investigate and solve enrichment items.

Trumpeter hornbills are native to southern Africa. Their population numbers are safe, but decreasing. Many species of hornbill face threats from poaching for their casques, which some cultures use to create jewelry and carvings. The pressure has led some species of hornbill to be critically endangered. You can help protect hornbills by making informed purchases when you travel, and avoiding products created from animal parts.

What is next for Ronnie and her family? There are several different options for her future depending on the needs of the trumpeter hornbill Species Survival Plan. If Ronnie might be a good breeding candidate for another zoo, she could be transferred and contribute to her species’ conservation in this way. If it is decided that she has more time to spend with us at Reid Park Zoo, she will continue to live with her parents until a future breeding season. Either way Ronnie and her family will continue to serve as ambassadors for their species!


Ronnie tilts her head to investigate the camera.
Ronnie (right) perched next to her father, Henry (left).