Oriental Pied Hornbill catches insects

on 9th October 2010

KM Sim’s images of the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) were photographed in Singapore’s Japanese Garden in September 2010.

The bird was documented catching a praying mantis. The two sharp points of the massive mandibles that make up the bill act as a pair of forceps that delicately picked up the insect by its legs (above left). With a slight flick of the hornbill’s head it sent insect down its throat headfirst.

In the case of the green beetle, it was picked up by its body, flicked up and swallowed, again headfirst (left).

Although hornbills eat mostly fruits, they also take small animals like grasshoppers, bees and lizards, as well as snails, spiders, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, lizards, frogs, and small birds.

A wide range of fruits taken by hornbills have been documented in Thailand. In Singapore, they have been photographed eating

palm fruits, guava, figs, papaya and rambutans.

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

8 Responses

  1. Yeh, in Langkawi I saw the pied hornbills eating the fruits of the fishtail palm which I thought were rather toxic, it was amazing!

  2. Hi, I was just reading that these beautiful birds are on the critically endangered list in Singapore. Well, on Saturday morning one was perched on the railing outside the office window of my condo on Bukit Timah Rd. It then flew to another ledge where there was another bird. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough with the camera. But it struck me as not very healthy… it’s beak seemed discoloured and feathers were a bit raggedy. Anyway, I just wanted to share this special encounter with you.

    1. It is probably Critically Endangered on Singapore as it was once extinct on the island and now with re-introducing effort to restore the new population that is developed there likely from new comers from nearby Johor.

  3. According to the IUCN redlist, Anthracoceros albirostris is Least Concern. Also the species is not on the Singapore Red Data list which was published in 2008. This being the second edition and the first was in 1994. So I presume it has not been updated, yet. There are a couple of criterias to fulfill before a taxon gets uplisted to CR.

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