Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)

Interesting :

The Great hornbill is a very large sized bird and the biggest bird in the hornbill family of Thailand. It has the body size of 122 centimeters. The male and female have the same characteristics but the male has the bigger size. The difference are the eyes of the male are red ruby, the cheekbone on the front and back are black, and the eyes of the female are pale or white, and the cheekbone has no black. From the middle of the cheekbone of the great hornbill, there are yellow and orange which the orange comes from the oil gland of its bottom. When the bird dies, this color will disappear. In the morning and in the eventing, it will a very loud noise Kok Kok or Ka hung Ka Hung.

Habitat :

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY This species frequents wet evergreen and mixed deciduous forests, ranging out into open deciduous areas to visit fruit trees and ascending slopes to at least 1,560 m in south India (Mudappa and Raman 2009) and up to 2,000 m in Thailand (Poonswad et al. 2013). The abundance of this species tends to be correlated with the density of large trees, required for nesting, and it is therefore most common in unlogged forest (Datta 1998).In the breeding season, they are largely sedentary moving in a small area but in the non-breeding season they range widely (Poonswad and Tsuji 1994, Naniwadekar et al. 2019). Known nest trees include Tetrameles nudiflora, Dipterocarpus gracilis, Dipterocarpus turbinata, Cleistocalyx nervosum, Shorea faguetiana, Hopea odorata, Neobalanocarpys heimii, Palaquiuum ellipticum, Mangifera indica, Bombax ceiba, Mesua ferrea, Syzygium gardneri, Koompassia excelsa (R. Naniwadekar and A. Datta in litt. 2016). It has also been reported to nest in the non-native tree Grevillea robusta (R. Naniwadekar and A. Datta in litt. 2016). In general, habitat-use seems to be negatively associated with human population (A. Datta and R. Naniwadekar in litt. 2018). In the Anamalai Hills in southwest India, Great Hornbills are known to occur in and breed in shade-coffee plantations adjoining continuous rainforest tracts, where large nest trees and food trees (like Ficus spp.) are retained in the plantations (Pawar et al. 2018). In this same population, the estimated percentage of breeding Great Hornbill pairs was higher (56%) in the contiguous protected forests than in the adjoining shade coffee plantations (33%; Pawar et al. unpubl. data) Food species include Ficus spp., Polyalthia sp. and Elaeagnus sp. (Kaur et al. 2015). Figs comprise a major part of the diet (Kannan and James 1999, Datta and Rawat 2003, Naniwadekar et al. 2015b) but the species also takes eggs, amphibians, reptiles, insects, mammals and small birds (Kemp and Boesman 2017). They also feed on drupaceous fruits of Annonaceae and Lauraceae and arillate dehiscent capsular fruits of Meliaceae and Myristicaceae. The breeding season begins in March in northeast India, and between December and January in other parts of the range; throughout, the nesting period lasts around four months (Poonswad et al. 2013). Most nesting hornbills produce one chick. The average nesting period is about 120 days (range: 102-144 days) (Poonswad et al. 1987, 2013). The chick hatches out of the eggs about 40 days after the female entry in the nest (Poonswad et al. 2013). The nest cavity is mostly an elongated slit in the tree (Poonswad 1995, Datta and Rawat 2004, James and Kannan 2009). It has been also reported to nest in non-native tree species like Grevillea robusta (Pawar et al. 2018). As the female is incarcerated and dependent on the male during this time, home range size is considerable smaller (0.7 - 7 km2 [Poonswad and Tsuji 1994, R. Naniwadekar and A. Datta in litt. 2016]) than during the non-breeding period when it has been recorded as 138 km2 in Thailand (Keartumsom et al. 2011) and c. 50 km2 in northeast India (R. Naniwadekar and A. Datta in litt. 2016). In Malaysia, there are very few nesting records to date, with only reports from Terengganu, Perak and Kedah States (Yeap 2005, McAfee 2017, Kaur et al. 2015, Ong et al. 2009, Yeap and Perumal in press, MNS Hornbill Conservation Project unpub. data). Hybridization between Rhinoceros and Great Hornbills has been reported by Tan (2019) from Panti forests in Johor State. This is a first report for Malaysia, but other similar hybridization occurred in south Thailand reported by Chatmutpong et al. (2013). On Langkawi island, the hornbills have been recorded taking advantage of fruiting strangling fig (Ficus benjamina), congregating in groups of at least 150 individuals (Hasdi Hassan and Siti Hawa Yatim 2003). Yeap et al. (2006) reported casque-butting and bill grabbing behaviour among the hornbills in a smaller group of 30 individuals. Another sizeable group of hornbills was also detected in Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) where up to 22 individuals were counted. The group roosted in a Parkia javanica tree for at least 2 nights. This group has been detected at several locations within the Temengor Forest Reserve of BTFC within an area of 32 km2 (MNS Hornbill Conservation Project, unpub. data).

Food :

The Great hornbill eats ripped fruit, for example; banana, fig, marian plum and small animals which are chameleon, ground lizard, rat, snake. It usesits tail to tie the prey, strikes to the tree branch, snaps thorughout the body to break the bone, throws the prey in the air, opens its mouth to get the prey. and swallowa it.

Behavior :

Lives in the tropical rain forest, dry evergreen forest, and hill evergreen forest which have tall trees. It stays in a small group. In the breeding season, it will stay in pairs. It like to jump or cry. While seeking for it foods, it will make very loud noise. When flying, it will flap and pan the wing. Its flapping sound is like the beating sound. It normally clings on the tree branch, especially the fruit tree in the forest which has the ripped fruit. If there is fruit that it likes, it will come everyday to eat. When it eats all, it will then change to the other tree. The Great hornbill breeds in the winner until summer. It lays eggs in the hollw of the tall tree and lays 1 to 2 eggs each time. Before laying eggs, the female will go into the nest and decorate its nest. The male bring brings the soil mixing wit the dung of the female to close the cavity or uses the food that eats and splits it out to close the cavity. It will leave the space in the middle for the female to stretch out its mouth. While the female incubates the eggs and feed its chick, the male will find the food to feed the chick and its wife. the female will shed its plumage and has the new full hair which will take the same time as its chick to have the full hair. When the new plumage is fully covering the female's body. the female will pick off the caity and practice flying with its chick.

Current Status :

Conservation Actions Underway CITES Appendix I. The species is captively bred in zoos (Jensen 2008). It occurs in several protected areas across its range. The ecology of the species has been studied since 1981 as part of long-running research at Khao Yai National Park in Thailand (Poonswad et al. 1987, Poonswad 1995, Poonswad et al. 1998, 2005). Active management of nesting cavities has been used to augment breeding success in the wild (Poonswad et al. 2005). Hornbill Nest Adoption Programs have been implemented in Budo Sungai-Padi National Park in southern Thailand since 1994 (Pasuwan et al. 2011) and in forests adjoining Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India since 2011 (Rane and Datta 2015). Urban donors are encouraged to 'adopt' wild hornbill nests and the funds raised are used to pay for nest guardians to monitor and protect the nest sites. An additional nest monitoring and protection program is underway in Kerala with the Kadar community and the forest department (Bachan et al. 2011). Artificial nest boxes have been installed with some success at sites in Thailand (Pasuwan et al. 2011) and southern India (James et al. 2011). In Bhutan, the Great Hornbill is protected under Forest and Nature Conservation Rules and Regulations 2017 (DoFPS, 2017). Conservation Actions Proposed Monitor populations across its range to determine the magnitude of declines and rates of range contraction. Campaign for the protection of remaining extensive tracts of lowland forest throughout its range. Develop a programme to reduce hunting of the species through raising awareness of the status of the species within communities that target the species. Develop the existing captive breeding population to support future reintroduction and supplementation efforts.


CLASS : Aves

ORDER : Bucerotiformes

FAMILY : Bucerotidae

GENUS : Buceros

SPECIES : Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)

Conservation status : Vulnerable

Reference :

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Update : 11 April 2017