Oriental Pied Hornbill in courtship mode

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Hornbills | 5

Kennie Pan photographed a male Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) feeding his mate when both were perching on a branch of a tree (above). The male had a fig held at the sharp tip of his huge bill. He was offering it to his mate who responded by delicately taking over the fig with the tip of her bill.

This is courtship feeding, as seen in may species of birds… bee-eaters, barbets and koel. The two hornbills have apparently bonded and were then in courtship mode. At the same time the pair was allopreening – the male using the sharp tip of his bill to preen the female. In the image on the left, her neck is stretched backwards to expose the surface to the attention of the male.

The female on the right has a smaller casque. Note that has her right eye is closed, no doubt enjoying the preening. The casque of the male, seen to the left of the female, is larger.

No doubt copulation would follow and the pair would be prospecting for a tree cavity, if not already done so.

5 Responses

  1. Serene

    Hi Kennie, do you mind sharing the location of this observation with me? I am compiling information on OPHs particularly in relation to the usage of artificial nestboxes. Thanks!

  2. Kwong

    Serene, you may wish to consider one for Pasir Ris Park as there were 3 OPHs sighted – including one pair showing courtship behaviour. They were sighted on-and-off on both sides of Sungei Tampines since last year.

  3. Serene

    Noted, will check that site out. Thanks for the heads up and for sharing your observations!

  4. Farah

    They are still nesting there at sungei tampines. I saw a pair of OPHs yesterday evening on my walks to Pasir ris Park

  5. Edi Teo

    There are 4 of these spotted near the Poh Brothers Driving range at Alexandra Vicinity some 2 weeks ago. Don’t know if they are still around.

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