Western Piping Hornbill Bycanistes fistulator


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely 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.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be generally common across a wide range (del Hoyo et al. 2001).

Trend justification
Although tolerant of habitat modification and not thought to be subject to severe hunting pressure, the species is nevertheless suspected to be declining.

Distribution and population

B. fistulator is found in the lowlands of West Africa from Senegal east to western Nigeria, including Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, MaliSierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Occurs in most large forest reserves and can be common in secondary and agricultural stands of tall trees alongside primary forest (del Hoyo et al. 2001).


A small hornbill of primary evergreen and gallery forest, as well as mangrove and swamp-forest and will use secondary forest and plantations (Kemp 1995, del Hoyo et al. 2001). Occurs in the lowlands up to about 600 m, typically in family groups or small flocks moving at canopy level to find fruit which comprises about 90% of the diet (Kemp 1995, del Hoyo et al. 2001). Breeding activity recorded January, April, June and October-December, usually only one chick fledged (del Hoyo et al. 2001).


45cm. Medium-small pied hornbill with white belly and rump, black wings with white-tipped secondaries and white tips to the outer tail feathers. The bill and casque are brownish with a creamy base; skin around eye is blue in the male, horn-coloured in the female. Similar spp. B. sharpii has extensive white on the inner primaries as well as the secondaries; also the outer tail feathers are all white. Voice. Loud, harsh, nasal laughing and a shrill piping peep-peep-peep.


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

Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Lindsell, J., Rainey, H., Kemp, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Bycanistes fistulator. Downloaded from on 01/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/12/2022.