Southern Ground-Hornbills are primarily found south of the equator, but have a small overlap with the Northern Ground-Hornbills (Burcorvis abyssinicus) in Uganda and Kenya. They have been recorded in South Africa, Namibia, eSwatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Their habitat preference is in savanna, grassland, and open woodlands where there is a mixture of open areas for foraging and trees which provide them with both shade and nesting sites.
Unfortunately, over the past one hundred years Southern Ground-Hornbills have experienced a two thirds reduction in their national occurrence and their population. Sadly, these birds are now classified globally as Vulnerable and Endangered within South Africa, Namibia and eSwatini. In South Africa, most of the population occurs in the Kruger National Park (KNP), Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR), the conservation and farming areas of KwaZulu-Natal and rural areas of the Eastern Cape.