Call of the Oriental Pied Hornbill

on 17th June 2010

“Visits by the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris convexus) to our urban Ipoh garden have been one of the most unexpected and delightful events in our lives. Although there are many in Perak (Peninsular Malaysia), they are largely confined to lowland rain forest, swampy location, near rivers and some islands.

“We have seen them twice before in our garden – eight and three years ago, once a single individual, the second time a pair. Both prior were in June-August months (dry season).

“Today [13th June 2009, 6pm], just when arriving back from work, was delighted to hear a female calling out loudly, making some of my neighbor’s curious as to the sound. I got the camera and rushed out without changing. It was hard to spot her in the foliage of a tall tree and as I got close she flew into the overgrown nearby graveyard. I followed (despite being “inappropriately” dressed) and saw a House Crow (Corvus splendens) chasing her off from another tree. Fortunately I had recoded her calls (with the Nikon D90) and played them back. After some time of doing so, spotted her on a tall bare branch some distance away, calling again and got some good views for 30 minutes.

“A composite above shows the posture during calls. The head would be arched back, the beak open and a loud “crackling bray/laugh” – HERE.

More rarely she made a softer, closed bill, piping sound HERE

“She spent close to 30 minutes calling – with breaks of 2-4 minutes in between and calls durations of 10-30 seconds.

“I was at first considering the A. a. albirostris subspecies because the undersurface of the tail looked back in flight but on processing the shots, recognised I had been fooled by the tail opening in flight to reveal the upper tail feathers. So it is A. a. convexus sbspecies. A composite to show this.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Canning Garden Home
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
20th February 2010

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 responses

  1. I saw two hornbills in Nee Soon Camp two weeks ago. At first i couldnt believe my eyes but the calling sound it made was very distinct

    Sorry i do not have any pictures as camera and camera phones are not allowed in army camps

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