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Karl the hornbill being fed by Zookeeper Ellen

Karl grabs a snack from Ellen.

There’s a new feathered face at the Zoo! Karl, a four-year-old von der Decken’s hornbill, arrived here a few months ago and is settling in nicely. He’s been working closely with our animal wellness specialists to demonstrate natural hornbill behaviors on cue, such as beak wiping and catching food in midair. Of course, he’s always rewarded with yummy treats like fruit, mealworms and rat pieces!

Karl’s full moniker is Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken II, which is also the name of the German explorer after which this species is named. Von der Decken’s hornbills are found in dry, open habitats in eastern Africa. Fortunately, they are not facing any major threats at this time.

If you’ve been to the Zoo, you’re probably familiar with the hornbill family. Southern ground hornbill JD lives in Expedition Africa and wrinkled hornbills Morticia and Gomez can be found in Lands of Change: Australia and Beyond. Though they look like the toucans of Central and South America, hornbills are native to Africa and Asia.

So when and where can you see Karl? We hope he’ll be able to participate in keeper presentations at the Lands of Change Theater in the near future. Keep your eyes on the animal encounters page for updates!