The Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) was sighted at the Panti forest in neighbouring Malaysian state of Johor in early July 2009. A number of photographers were there that morning and got of few images of the bird feasting on what look like nutmeg fruits (Myristica sp.).
These hornbills are capable of storing a large amount of fruits in their gular pouch. According to Kinnaird & O’Brien (2007), Asian hornbills can load up to over 260 figs at one time, equivalent to 20% of their body weight. Of course with nutmegs which are larger and heavier than figs, the number would be much less.
Besides figs, they take a wide variety of fruits and nutmeg is one of them. In the process, they help in the dispersal of the rainforest plants.
The nutmeg fruit splits into two when ripe to expose a large seed covered with a colourful aril. In the commercial nutmeg (M. fragrans), the aril goes to make the spice mace while the seed the nutmeg. It would be helpful of future photographers at Panti can bring back images of the ripened fruits for a positive identification.
Input and image by Calvin Chang a.k.a. deswitch.
This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.
Kinnaird, M. F. & T. G. O’Brien, 2007. The ecology and conservation of Asian hornbills: Farmers of the forest. University of Chicago Press 315 pp.