Friday, February 15, 2013

Rhinoceros Hornbill

Buceros rhinoceros
The Rhinoceros Hornbill can be found in several countries through Southeast Asia, and are the state birds of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. They live in rainforests at altitudes below 1,400m, and you'll probably hear them before you see them. Their large, rounded wings make flying very noisy and difficult, and they are able to blast out very loud calls to one another thanks to their sound-resonating headgear.

One of the largest Hornbill species, these birds can grow nearly 4ft in length. They are predominantly black with white feathers, and both males and females have those distinctive yellowish-orange casques on their heads. One easy way to tell the difference between sexes is by looking at their eyes-- males have red irises, while females have white.

Rhinoceros Hornbills form very strong pair bonds, and may keep those bonds for many years (in captivity they can live 30 years or more) The female needs to have exceptional trust in her partner, because she literally seals herself into a tree hole while incubating their eggs. She'll lay up to three at once, inside of a cavity, and then a wall of mud, plants, and feces is built, locking her inside with only a small hole to receive food through. She will rely completely on her partner to feed her during that time, which can last as long as 100 days!

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : Southeast Asia
Size : Length up to 4ft (1.2m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Coraciiformes
Family : Bucerotidae -- Genus : Buceros -- Species : B. rhinoceros
Image :  Jim Bowen

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