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Last Update: 27 Mar 2017
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Totally PA_Helmeted Hornbill (Buceros vigil)Totally PA_Helmeted Hornbill (Buceros vigil)

Helmeted Hornbill (Buceros vigil)


Family: BUCEROTIDAE

PictureHornbills are large, black or brown, and white, mainly arboreal birds, with long, heavy bills. Many species have large protuberant casques on top of the bill which may be gaudily coloured. Hornbills are found throughout Africa and tropical Asia, and throughout Indonesia to New Guinea. They eat fruit and insects and have harsh, penetrating calls.

The nesting habits of the family are interesting. The incubating females are usually sealed into tree hole nests with mud, leaving only a small aperture through which food can be passed by the male. When the young are hatched the female breaks out but reseals the nest entrance again until the young are ready to leave. Ten species of hornbill occur in Sumatra, eight in Borneo, but only three are found in Java.

Description: Unmistakable, very large (120 cm, plus 50 cm elongated central tail streamers), dark brown and white hornbill with elongated central tail feathers; white tail with black band and broad white bar at rear of wing diagnostic. High, yellow and scarlet, box-like casque which is used for carving as 'hornbill ivory'.

Iris-red; bill-yellow and red; feet-brown.

Voice: A series of identical, loud, hollow took notes, gaining in speed before drawing to an amazing climax of maniacal laughter, tee poop notes.

Range: Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and Borneo.

Distribution and status: This is a familiar but uncommon bird of tall, lowland forests, up to 1500 m.

Habits: Pairs live in upper canopy, mixing with other hornbills, pigeons, and primates in major fruiting trees.