An Extraordinary Oriental Pied Hornbill at Pulau Ubin

posted in: Hornbills, Morphology-Develop. | 3

“Oriental Pied Hornbills, southern race (Anthracoceros albirostris convexus) are a common sight around and within the Celestial Resort on the south-western end of Pulau Ubin, Singapore.

“I spotted a lone hornbill perched on a H-shaped wooden stand by the water’s edge on Wednesday 27th December, 2011. I did not notice anything unusual until I viewed the photos later.

“When it opened its bill while basking in the sun, I saw the silhouette of the extra lance between the upper and lower bills, and thought ‘what a long and stiff tongue it has!’

“A good look at my photos revealed to my surprise that it had an extra ‘lance’ protruding from its bill, just in front of its right eye (above left).

“I had only a compact camera with 12x zoom and did what I could to capture the hornbill. It was totally relaxed and I thought I could return to the site with KC Tsang who had a large telephoto lens on his DSLR camera. Alas, we did not have another opportunity like that. However, we did spot the same bird when it was participating in a grand fly-past with over 20 other hornbills later in the evening. Instead of flying high overhead with its friends, it came down and perched on a lamp-post, just long enough for us to see its spectacular lance through binoculars. KC Tsang was not able to get a shot at it, with lower foliage in the way, and it took off too soon.

“Here is a short video of it getting some sun after several days of overcast sky and rainy weather.”

Joyce SY Tan
Singapore
29th December 2011

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3 Responses

  1. Howard Banwell

    Remarkable. And it seems from what you say to be living a normal hornbill life

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  2. Fascinating, as Howard said. I did a Google search (general & images) fro “horbill”, “beak” with “abnormalities” or “variation” or “mutation” or “deformities”. Only got one possible image here: http://www.parks-sa.co.za/forums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=43519&start=0

    Another comment in this blog of “I have an image of a Indian Grey Hornbill with a beak deformity!” but cannot find image.
    http://www.indianaturewatch.net/displayimage.php?id=253141

    Amar

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  3. very interesting …. and thanks to Dr Amar for the links. if the abnormal hornbill can feed and blend with other hornbills, i’m sure it will continue to live. not sure if this abnormality has any disadvantage.

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