Oriental Pied Hornbill raided Little Heron’s nest

Johnny Wee was at a mangrove patch in Singapore’s Pasir Ris Park on 29th August 2012 when he detected a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) moving around the branches of a bakau putih tree (Bruguiera cylindrica). The pair was moving towards a Little Heron’s (Butorides striatus) nest where an adult was incubating its eggs. The male hornbill moved nearer and drove the incubating heron away while his mate stood by. The displaced heron showed its agitation with head and neck feathers raised (above and below).

Size and number were major factors in this confrontation and so the heron could only stand by helplessly as the male hornbill raided the nest of its three eggs. The female hornbill joined him at the nest where he carefully picked up an egg and fed her with it. The image below shows the male hornbill with an egg delicately clamped between the tips of his large mandibles before swallowing it. He also ate up the remaining egg.

Johnny Wee
August 2012

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