February is the beginning of the breeding season and at Changi the Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) are busy prospecting potential nesting cavities again. This is exactly one year after two failed nesting in Changi.
Chan Yoke Meng encountered a male hornbill picking fruits of the MacArthur Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii) (above) to subsequently place them inside a tree cavity to induce the female to enter it.
An earlier account shows a female hornbill entering the nest cavity of the Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini).
One of the sites inspected by a pair is the same cavity in an angsana tree (Pterocarpus indicus) by the main road that a female sealed herself in last year. The male was seen examining the cavity as well as another nearby. The female was even seen entering the cavity, to emerge about five minutes later.
This time around, it would be interesting to see whether they are successful in raising chicks. If so, the population on mainland Changi would see an increase from the current two pairs.
Image of hornbill eating palm fruits by Chan Yoke Meng.