Oriental Pied Hornbill in comfort behaviour

At around 1250 hours on the 23rd July 2008, there was a loud call in my garden that I traced to a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris). The birds were perching on the TV aerial on the roof of my neighbour’s house.


The male hornbill was calling on and off loudly with the female by his side (top left). The latter then preened the head of the former (top right) before joining in with a call of her own (below left).


The male then began preening himself, starting with his tail feathers and going on to his breast and then his wing feathers.

The female then joined in preening herself, starting with waxing her tail feathers with oil from the preen gland (top right).

After about five minutes, the female suddenly flew off followed by the male a few seconds later.

YC Wee
August 2008

4 Responses

  1. Robert Teo

    The female is of the Northern Race, most likely it escaped or was released from bird trade. Would you let me know which area it was recorded from?

  2. YC

    Hornbills regularly visit the Bukit Timah area. They perch on trees along the roads and in gardens at Binjai Park and Sian Tuan Avenue. The pictures were taken in Sian Tuan.

  3. Subaraj

    Most interesting. Your hornbills also range to Bukit Tinggi. The hornbills in your area have been around for several years now, since 3 birds were first reported by a teacher from Bukit Tinggi.

    These birds may be part of the extending range of a feral population that first began at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park in the late 1980s. However, we cannot dismiss the possibility of fresh escapees either.

    What is interesting is that the first pair at Upper Seletar, back then, was also a mixed race pair (1 southern and 1 northern). This pointed to them being escapees as the northern race is apparently not known to occur south of Pahang, Malaysia. That original pair raised 2 young, each year, for 3 years straight….and the feral population spread, with records from Lower Peirce, MacRitchie and Toa Payoh in the 1990s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.