Oriental Pied Hornbill catches insects

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.

8 Responses

  1. Milt

    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. Peter

    I have seen Pied Hornbills in Ubin Island eating ripe fruits of the fishtail palm. So definitely not toxic for them..

  3. Ash

    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.

  4. YC

    Are you sure it is on the critically endangered list? I thought there are quite a few around and breeding.

    • Tou Jing Yi

      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.

  5. Haniman

    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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