Friday, April 20, 2012

Wreathed Hornbill

Hornbills are fascinating birds, and I am trying to photograph the ones that live in Southeast Asia before going further a field. Birds of this family are called hornbills because they share a common trait - a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly-colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible.
Thus far I have had the honor of photographing the Southern Oriental Pied, Black, Great and Wreathed.
During my last trip to Thailand, it was hornbill nesting season. We trekked into the forest and hid under a tall tree near a known nesting site. Lucky me as I didn't have to wait long for the male wreathed hornbill to come to the nest. I heard some people waited over 5 hours.
male wreathed

Wreathed Hornbills are also known as the Bar-pouched Wreathed Hornbill, is a found in forests from far north-eastern India and Bhutan, east and south through mainland south-east Asia and the Greater Sundas, except Sulawesi. The male can weigh as much as 4 kgs while the female is lighter. Wreathed Hornbills can be recognized by the dark bar on the lower throat (hence the alternative name of bar-pouched.
I could hear this hornbill approaching from its wing flaps. As Wreathed Hornbills are extremely shy and we had to keep very quite and not make sudden movements to scare the very cautious male away.
My reward was great photos and footage. However it was early in the nesting period and the male only brought figs to the female. Hornbills are omnivores. When they have growing chicks to feed the males have been seen hunting and catching all kinds of small animals to feed their chicks. 

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