Oriental Pied Hornbill eating tree-climbing crab

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Hornbills | 3

The earlier post on the contributions of citizen scientists towards our knowledge of hornbill behaviour LINK attracted the attention of photographer David Tan. He was interested in a reference to these hornbills eating crabs, documented in Malaysia LINK. This reminded him of his encounter with an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) at Singapore’s Chek Jawa, the nature park at the offshore island of Pulau Ubin in July 2010.

According to David, the hornbill spotted a tree-climbing crab (Episesarma sp.) on a mangrove tree. It flew to the crab as it was scrambling up the trunk, sort of “hovered” in front of it before grabbing it. Then it flew to perch on the railing of the boardwalk with the crab clamped in its bill (above). Moving down to the boardwalk (below left), it then dismantled the crab with the help of its foot and ate it up (below right).

David Tan
July 2011

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