So how are the two getting along? Keepers say Karl is more down to business than Karoline, who appears curious and playful, but it didn’t take long for the two birds to become friends. “Abyssinian ground hornbills are such social critters,” says Grupenhoff.
Hornbills are monogamous and form lifelong bonds, but for now Karl and Karoline are just companions. Karl is nearly 30 years old, and Karoline won’t reach sexual maturity for a few more years.
Karl regularly brings Karoline mice and other things to eat. With his prosthetic beak, he could even groom her feathers. “It’s a great learning experience for her,” says assistant curator Gil Myers. Karoline is still young, and Karl has a lifetime of knowledge to share.
Karl and Karoline share a habitat with a multi-generational herd of lesser kudus at Cheetah Conservation Station. Stop by to see them during your next visit to the Zoo.