Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)
… also known as Great Indian Hornbill or Great Pied Hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family (95–120 cm (38–47 in) long, with a 152 cm (60 in) wingspan and a weight of 2.15–4 kg (4.7-8.8 lbs)).Great Hornbills are found in the forests of Nepal, India, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, Indonesia. Their impressive size and colour have made them important in many tribal cultures and rituals. The Great Hornbill is long-lived, living for nearly 50 years in captivity. They are predominantly frugivorous although they are opportunists and will prey on small mammals, reptiles and birds…
The first time I came across one of these, I didn’t see it. I heard it through the canopy of a patch of rainforest in Langkawi, Malaysia. Not it’s call mind, but the air displaced by it’s wings.
Wikipedia says “The sound produced has been likened to the puffing of a steam locomotive starting up.”
The thought that pierced through the cloud of excitement as we strained fruitlessly to see through the canopy was “That is what pterodactyls must sound like”.
We saw it later atop a tree. It was humongous.
Animals in captivity: Blue Bird, Crocolandia
Animals in captivity: Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax), Crocolandia, Cebu
Animals in captivity: Bird sp. in Crocolandia, Cebu
Red Knobbed Hornbill. Aceros Cassidix
Yes, I’m a marine biologist, but how can you not love Hornbills?
Male Rhinoceros Hornbill [Buceros rhinoceros] Photo by Karen Chen
In the ultimate show of trust, female Hornbills lay their eggs inside tree trunks, while the male collects mud, food and feces to board her in with the chicks. A small hole is left open for feeding and defacating, and the female relies completely on the male to feed her and their chicks.
Hornbills are what drew my attention from reef to rainforest. I heart them. Lots.
Langkawi Rainforest. Not many people go when they visit the tourist trampled island. But they should. It is worthy.
This was days before I heard [let me repeat…I heard] a Great Hornbill flying above the canopy. I don’t know how to describe the ‘whomp’ of its wings flapping. That last sentence was my best attempt. No matter, because later on I saw it. And it was awe-some.