“It was on the evening of 27th December 2011, while on Pulau Ubin, that I spotted this Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris feeding on the fruits of the ?carpentaria palm (Carpentaria acuminata). According to the manager of the resort the hornbills will arrive in flocks of about ten birds or even more whenever they notice any ripening fruits, whether it is this palm fruits, chikus or rambutans. In a short while the tree will be stripped of ripe fruits.
“Notice how deftly the bird’s movements are from the plucking of the fruit to the
placement of the fruit between the mandibles, and with a flick of the head the fruit goes straight down its throat.
“Notice the bird does not chew the fruits, they are crushed lower down in the gizzard, a highly muscular part of the bird’s stomach for the grinding of food.
“There is one peculiar habit of birds that I had noticed. Just before they take flight
they would make an evacuation of their bowels as this bird had done. I guess this is to lighten any unnecessary load for flight.
“I must add that the program of propagating the hornbills on Pulau Ubin seems to be pretty successful as later in the evening we counted a flock of more than 20 birds flying over our heads.”
27th December 2011