A Great Hornbill came for a visit

posted in: Hornbills | 4

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We regularly see the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) in mainland Singapore and in Pulau Ubin. But Stephen Lau had a treat when a Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) came for a visit at his condomonium around the Bukit Timah area.

One morning in May 2005, just as Stephen was about to leave his apartment for an appointment, he heard the heavy falpping of wings and deep harsh sounds coming from his balcony. Curious, he went to investigate. He had a treat of his life when he saw perching comfortably on the railing, a very large black and white bird with a yellow neck and black-rimmed red eyes. It had a large and prominent yellowish bill and casque. Without doubt it was a hornbill. In fact it is no ordinary hornbill. It was a female Great Hornbill, definitely an escapee as a metal tag can clearly be seen round its right leg.

It sat there looking at Stephen and started chewing and spitting seeds of some fruits kept hidden in its big beak. Intrigued, he offered the bird a slice of papaya on a plate. The bird scrambled off to his neighbour’s unit but returned later to finish off the piece of papaya.

Input and image by Stephen Lau.

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4 Responses

  1. Cheong Weng Chun

    wow! looks like the hornbill is coming to you and you do not need to go to them. so, it seems like they are blending into the society.

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  2. animals blending into society has its pros and cons. The cockroach and crow have both blended into our society but they were met with less enthusiasm. Until recently macaques have also been too friendly to joggers in nature reserves. Another reason why animals will venture into suburbia is that the forest patch is getting too small to support their population
    Since this bird is an escapee I presume its just more familiar with suburbia than forest. I don’t know

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  3. I went to Zoo last weekend, realise that some of the great hornbills had red-eyes,whereas some have white… WHY

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  4. The male has red eyes while the female has white eyes.

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