Botswana 5-THEBE (KM31) Red-billed Hornbill
It seems very likely that this is a Red-billed Hornbill. There are about six hornbill species resident in Botswana and the Red-billed Hornbill most closely resembles our friend on the 5-thebe coin. I had previously thought this was a Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, but it has been pointed out to me that the tail more closely matches the pattern of the Red-billed species. Also, it seems the Yellow has a thicker beak (it is known as the 'flying banana'), and the Red has a slightly thinner beak as depicted on the coin.
Both hornbills belong to the genus tockus, which probably accounts for it being misattributed by the Krause catalogue (and subsequently many coin collectors) as a "Toko" bird.
Originally issued as a round coin in 1976, the 5-thebe coin was replaced by a smaller 7-sided (heptagon) version in 1998. Then, in 2013, Botswana issued seven brand new coins and the 5-thebe grew slightly and changed colour.
- Diameter: 18 mm
- Composition: Nickel-clad Steel
- CAT#: KM31