Western Long-tailed Hornbill Horizocerus albocristatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. If declines are found to be higher than currently suspected, it may be eligible for uplisting to a higher category of threat.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be widespread and locally common but patchily distributed (del Hoyo et al. 2001).

Trend justification
It is an adaptable species, which tolerates logging and forest degradation and enters the transition forest/savanna zone, occurring in cocoa and coffee plantations with mature forest trees, and is not easily hunted (H. Rainey in litt. 2012, J. Lindsell in litt. 2013, F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt. 2013). Nevertheless it is still suspected to be experiencing some declines.

Distribution and population

T. albocristatus (incorporating macrourus) occurs in West Africa from southern Sierra Leone, east to Benin including Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, and Togo (del Hoyo et al. 2001). Widespread and locally common, though patchy in the west of its distribution; occurs in densities of up to 3-4 pairs/km2 in Liberia (del Hoyo et al. 2001).


T. albocristatus occurs in dense tangles in primary forest, in secondary forest, in cocoa and coffee plantations with mature forest trees and in adjacent deciduous woodland; recorded up to 1,500 m (del Hoyo et al. 2001, H. Rainey in litt. 2013). Forages in dense foliage, primarily taking insects but also spiders, slugs, reptiles, shrews and nestlings as well as fruit (del Hoyo et al. 2001). Often follows troops of monkeys, driver-ants or bird parties for the creatures disturbed by them (Kemp 1995, del Hoyo et al. 2001, Borrow and Demey 2004). Lays aseasonally in January-February, April and August-November (Kemp 1995, del Hoyo et al. 2001).


70cm. Elongate, slender hornbill with a very long graduated tail. Predominately black but with bushy white crest extending from forecrown to nape, and white face. The relatively slender black bill with cream upper mandible has a casque that extends for most of its length. Similar spp. T. cassini is larger and has sides of face black, white tips to greater coverts, primaries and tertials tipped white and less cream colour on the bill. Voice. A series of plaintive, soft hoots culminating in a drawn-out wail oooooooaah!


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Taylor, J. & Symes, A.

Rainey, H., Lindsell, J. & Dowsett-Lemaire, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Horizocerus albocristatus. Downloaded from on 26/11/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/11/2021.