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A Great Hornbill came for a visit

on 23rd March 2006

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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.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 Responses

  1. 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.

  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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