“While observing a boisterous flock of Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) feeding on figs beside a beach in Langkawi in October 2012, I noticed a secluded pair perched quietly on another fig tree not too far away (above: male above, female below). This pair had clearly decided not to engage in the fig feeding frenzy, but spend some quality time together instead.
“When the female tossed her head back and exposed her neck feathers, the male lowered his head and gently preened this portion with the tip of its beak (above).
“This was followed by the mutual clasping of beaks (above), which is probably analogous to kissing in humans, [known as allobilling: LINK]
“Thereafter, they proceeded with mutual sliding of beaks against each other (below).
“While witnessing such heartwarming displays of affection between the hornbills, I was reminded of the importance of regular demonstrations of sincere gestures to strengthen bonds, not just between birds, but among humans too.”
Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
23rd October 2012