For the months of February to May 2006 a pair of Great (Buceros bicronis) and Rhinoceros Hornbills (B. rhinoceros), both female, was regularly prospecting a potential nesting cavity in an old albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria) in Eng Neo. Whenever the birds were there the Great, acting in the role of a male, would fly to the cavity and deposit food, presumably figs, inside. This is typical hornbill courtship behaviour, to assure its partner that it would continue to feed her during her confinement within the cavity throughout incubation and nestling development.
It could be assumed that the cavity would be a storehouse of figs, as daily the Great would repeat this ritual. That this was so was confirmed by visits of other birds like Hill Mynas (Gracula religiosa) (above, left) and Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) (above, right) entering the cavity and helping themselves to the figs.
Image of Hill Myna by Chan Yoke Meng and of Great Hornbill and Javan Myna by YC.
Wonder if the mynahs discovered the cache by observing the hornbills or due to other signals (e.g. smell of the fruit emitted from the hole)?
That is an interesting point that I had not thought about earlier. Can it be that initially a bird somehow discovered the cache (smell, whatever?) and other birds noticed this and came…?
Thailand Bird Watching
Hello My friend and I were checking out your site. Very interesting and informative.