Re-introduction of a male Rhinoceros Hornbill

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Hornbills | 5

The Singapore Hornbill Project is working towards the re-introduction of a male Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) into the wild to provide a mate for the female Rhinoceros escapee that had inked up with a female Great Hornbill (B. bicronis).

In February 2009 a miniature aviary was build at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and a male Rhinoceros Hornbill from the Jurong BirdPark was used as a bait. On the same day the trap was laid, both the Great and Rhinoceros were caught.

Blood samples were taken from the Rhinoceros to determine the subspecies so that a suitable mate can be chosen for subsequent release. A GPS tracking system was attached to the trapped female bird, after which it was released.

At the same time, the Great was kept in the Jurong BirdPark for quarantine.

Observations are ongoing and exactly when a suitable male will be released will depend on how the two birds interact – one free, the other inside the aviary.

An earlier post mentioned the Great and Rhinoceros, both female and flying free for many years now, have found a new playground at Bukit Timah. Now, only the female Rhinoceros if flying free, its playmate the Great is confined in the Jurong BirdPark.

Images courtesy Hornbill Project, Singapore.

Mohd. Fauzy b Mos, Marc Cremades, Lai Huimin, Sunia Teo, Sadali b Mohd. Tali & Ng Soon Chye (2009). Re-introduction of the Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros bicronis) into Singapore (2009). Paper presented at the 5th Intn. Hornbill Conference, Singapore 2009.

5 Responses

  1. Andrew

    I would like to share my views on this unique Rhinoceros and Great Hornbill relationship.

    I think it would have been even more interesting to observe the interactions of the lesbian pair of hornbills with the introduced male Rhinoceros Hornbill, in the wild. This would have been a very unique opportunity to study such a situation, and see how nature takes its course.

    But instead, the lesbian couple had to be captured and separated, with one forced to get together with a male stranger.

    For those who were not at the presentation of this saga during the hornbill conference, we were shown slides of how the female Great Hornbill appeared to take on a more masculine role, to the point of being aggressive to the male Rhino, while her female partner showed feminine behaviour, going inside the artificial nest box.

    There are numerous well documented cases of many different species of animals with homosexual behaviour.

    It would have been nice to include this case of our own happy hornbill lesbians to the record.

    Cheers, andrew

  2. Curious

    Is there any update or new development for this unique Rhinoceros and Great Hornbill pair?

  3. YC

    I have no official words about the experiment. However, from the grapevine, it seems that the female RH was not interested in the caged male. She has probably gone to Johor to look for another female.

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