Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbills, South Africa

NOVEMBER 2011 – Two southern yellow-billed hornbills (Tockus leucomelas) sit on a dead tree at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. One of them carries a dead spider in his beak. © Mark Zanzig/

The story behind the image

Off the main road that goes from north to south in the Kruger National Park there was activity. In the distance. Vultures were gathering on the trees between our location and ‘the activity’. Many of them. We decided to stop the car on the curb and tried to identify what’s going on. It was hopeless. Even with the 400 mm lens one couldn’t get close enough to see it.

Then two southern yellow-billed hornbills (Tockus leucomelas) landed on a tree that was close enough for a full frame shot. I could see that one of the birds was biting down on a spider. And a closer examination shows the reflection of the sun in the eye. What a shot!

By the way, we never figured out the reason for ‘the activity’ in the distance but I’m still glad that we stopped the car and spent the time to observe the wildlife.

The cut-out of the larger photo clearly shows a large spider in the beak and the reflection of the sun in the eye. Photo © Mark Zanzig/

The high resolution image

Capture Date & Time26-NOV-2011, 17:12
LocationKruger National Park, South Africa
CameraCanon EOS-1D Mark III
LensCanon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
Exposure1/6400 sec at f/5.6
Digital Image Source FormatCanon Camera RAW (CR2)
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions3888 x 2592 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/

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