Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a bird named for its remarkable bill: the Rhinoceros Hornbill!
The Rhinoceros Hornbill is a large species of hornbill that lives in parts of southeast Asia, including Malaysia, where it is the national bird. They live in forest habitat and are non-migratory, though birds may move outside of breeding season if availability of food dictates.
Like all of the birds in their family, Rhinoceros Hornbills have very large bills with a large casque, or protrusion to the upper beak. The bill is horn-colored with red or orange coloration which varies in intensity from bird to bird. The sexes are similar in appearance, though male birds have larger beaks and casques and females lake the black outline between the two. They also have different colored eyes: males have red or orange eyes, while females have light, whitish eyes.
Rhinoceros Hornbills are considered to be Near Threatened by the IUCN. They face loss of habitat due to logging and agricultural land use, as well as direct threats from hunting and collecting.
Rhinoceros hornbill by Antoine Hubert (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Rhinoceros hornbill by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Rhinoceros hornbill by Jim Bowen (CC BY 2.0)
The Rhinoceros Hornbill is our 630th Birdorable bird.
Tomorrow's bird is a parrot with a superb name. Can you guess what it will be?
Our 2013 Birdorable Bonanza kicks off today! We're adding new birds each day in July until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the Southern Ground Hornbill.
Southern Ground Hornbills are found in parts of southern Africa, where they live in groups. Groups consist of a breeding pair and several helper birds, which are often related to the pair. These large birds are cooperative breeders; young hornbills assist in rearing the babies of others for several years before they are able to successfully raise their own chicks.
Southern Ground-Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) by Lip Kee (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Southern Ground Hornbills have bare facial skin and long eyelashes - which are specially formed feathers. These adaptations help keep dust out of their eyes during African dry spells.
Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with a small beach-nesting species. Tune in tomorrow to see what it is!
Our Birdorable Bonanza 2012 continues today with the Trumpeter Hornbill.
The Trumpeter Hornbill has the honor of being the first hornbill species to be added to Birdorable. These gregarious birds are found in southern parts of Africa. Trumpeter Hornbills are named for their baby-like crying vocalization, which is trumpeted out at a very loud volume. Here's what it sounds like:
Trumpeter Hornbill by Ian n. White
All hornbill species have a very unusual nesting practice. They use natural tree cavities, but they make an interesting modification. Prior to incubation, the entrance to the cavity is sealed by a wall constructed by the female, who may or may not be assisted by her mate. It is sealed so tightly that she is unable to leave the cavity! During the incubation period, she receives all food from her mate through a narrow slit in the wall. When the chicks hatch, the whole family continues to be fed through the slit with food provided by the male. When the babies grow too large for all to remain comfortably inside the cavity, the mother hornbill breaks out -- but still the chicks remain inside! The broken cavity wall is repaired and they continue to grow, now receiving food delivered by both adults.
Tomorrow's bird is just a little thing that wears a crown of gold. Can you guess what it will be?