Common Scimitarbill (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas)
Rhinopomastus or scimitarbills (also spelt scimitar-bills), is a genus of wood hoopoes. They are often classified in the family Phoeniculidae; however, genetic studies show that they diverged from the true woodhoopoes about 10 million years ago and so they are sometimes placed in a family of their own, the Rhinopomastidae.
They are smaller than most woodhoopoes and their bills are strongly curved like a scimitar, giving them their name. They are mostly glossy black in colour with a few white markings on the wings. While other woodhoopoes are gregarious birds which gather in flocks, the scimitarbills are usually seen alone or in pairs.
They feed mainly on insects and other invertebrates, which they find by using their bills to probe into holes and crevices. They are acrobatic birds, well-adapted for clambering through trees. The eggs are laid in a tree cavity.
Black Scimitarbill (Stephens, 1826) (Rhinopomastus aterrimus) Common Scimitarbill (Vieillot, 1819) (Rhinopomastus cyanomelas) Abyssinian Scimitarbill (Rüppell, 1845) (Rhinopomastus minor)