odd animal profile: Sunda wrinkled hornbill

Yippee! It’s time for hornbills! This one is from Southeast Asia, not Africa, and they are gorgeous! Honestly every single time I see a hornbill (any species) I heard my dad laughing and shouting “Look at the head on that rooster!” which he says to every ridiculous looking bird.  It never fails to make me smile. Well, enough about me! Let’s get to the bird!

A male Sunda wrinkled hornbill from Arkive
A male Sunda wrinkled hornbill from Arkive

Darla and me painting a picture
Darla and me painting a picture

The Sunda wrinkled hornbill is a huge and impressive looking bird. I don’t know what first drew me to hornbills, I think it was probably my experience with the fun loving African ground hornbill Darla from the Palm Beach Zoo. She was the sweetest and most playful bird and also the first hornbill I ever met. I then went on to get to know a bird named Fitz who is a trumpeter hornbill. And although he was no where as loving as Darla, he was still incredibly intelligent. I do love macaws and other parrots, but hornbills hold a special place in my heart.

Hornbills get their name from the protrusion on the tops of their bill called a casque. Now scientists do debate what this casque is used for, some think that it is used to help project their calls while other argue that since each casque is unique to the hornbill that they may be used to identify individuals.

Check the noises they make about half way through the video!

The male and female Sunda wrinkled hornbill do look different. This is something called sexual dimorphism. In this hornbill it is shown through the beak and facial colors. Both have black feathers coloring their body, but the female has a solid yellow bill with a bright blue neck. The male has quite a few more colors. His bill is yellow, red, and orange with a yellow face and neck and light blue rings around their eyes. They are amazing and beautiful birds that are found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

A female Sunda wrinkled hornbill
A female Sunda wrinkled hornbill

They can be quite long lived, anywhere from 40 to 50 years. And they are pretty large birds as well, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a wingspan measurement. But I think the most interesting thing about them is that they are monogamous, and when the female creates a nest in a hole in a tree. The female then seals herself inside of the hole using droppings and bits of old food. The male then pokes a hole through the seal and then feeds the female, and eventually breaks and lets the female and the new babies emerge!

Another male hornbill
Another male hornbill

These guys are listed as near threatened on the IUCN red list, but that doesn’t mean they are not in trouble. They went extinct from Singapore in the 40’s and are basically extinct in Thailand. The main threat from these guys is habitat loss. They live in evergreen and swamp forest in lowland areas and eat mostly fruit and insects, but occasionally will catch small invertebrates.

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