Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Helmeted hornbill

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Kingdom  Animalia
Order  Bucerotiformes
Genus  Rhinoplax Gloger, 1841
Higher classification  Rhinoplax
Phylum  Chordata
Family  Bucerotidae
Scientific name  Rhinoplax vigil
Rank  Species
Helmeted hornbill The bird that39s more valuable than ivory BBC News
Similar  Buceros, Rhinoceros hornbill, Hornbill, Wreathed hornbill, Black hornbill

Majestic helmeted hornbill becoming extinct by poaching for its red ivory beak


The helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) is a very large bird in the hornbill family. It is found on the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. The casque (helmetlike structure on the head) accounts for some 11% of its 3 kg weight. Unlike any other hornbill, the casque is almost solid, and is used in head-to-head combat among males. It is a belief among the Punan Bah that a large helmeted hornbill guards the river between life and death.

Contents

Helmeted hornbill The bird that39s more valuable than ivory BBC News

Helmeted hornbill


Description

It has mostly blackish plumage, except that the belly and legs are white and the tail is white with a black band near the tip of each feather. The tail is long and the two central tail feathers are much longer than the others, giving the bird a total length greater than that of any other hornbill species. The body length is 110–120 cm (43–47 in), not counting the tail feathers, which boost the length a further 50 cm (20 in). Males average 3.1 kg (6.8 lb) in weight and females about 2.7 kg (6.0 lb). Although sometimes considered the largest Asian hornbill, they weigh a bit less than the great hornbill (and considerably less than the African ground hornbills).

Helmeted hornbill httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

This species has a bare, wrinkled throat patch, pale blue to greenish in females and red in males. The casque goes from the base of the bill halfway to the tip, where it ends abruptly. It and the bill are yellow; the red secretion of the preen gland covers the sides and top of the casque and the base of the bill, but often leaves the front end of the casque and the distal half of the bill yellow. Unlike other hornbills, the helmeted hornbill's casque is solid, and the skull including the casque and bill may constitute 10 percent of the bird's weight.

Call

Helmeted hornbill The Helmeted Hornbill Nature39s Dinosaur Bird

The call is a series of loud, intermittent barbet-like hoots, sometimes double-toned and over two dozen in number, which gradually accelerates to culminate in a cackle reminiscent of laughter.

Habits

Helmeted hornbill Get Your Helmet On The Helmeted Hornbill

This bird eats mostly fruit, especially figs. It may also use the casque as a weighted tool to dig into rotten wood and loose bark in search of insects and similar prey. Unlike many fruit-eating hornbills, it is sedentary, and pairs maintain a territory. Males fight over territory on the wing, ramming each other with their casques.

Status

After ongoing hunting pressure and habitat loss, the helmeted hornbill was uplisted from near threatened to critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2015. It is listed in Appendix I of CITES.

Ivory casque

The casque is the source of hornbill ivory, a valuable carving material. Indigenous peoples also use the central tail feathers to decorate dancing cloaks and head-dresses. Historically, the casque was also used by carvers in China and Japan.

References

Helmeted hornbill Wikipedia


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