“The oil palm (Elaeia guineensis) fruit is a well-known food for parakeets LINK. Unknown to many, it is also food for the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) (above).
“Early one morning, on 2nd March 2013 to be exact, I saw a male Oriental Pied Hornbill flying onto the frond of an oil palm tree. The hornbill was obscured from view as it slid behind the the fronds to reach for the fruits. Viewing through gaps between the fronds, I realised that it was an old friend that have crossed path with me many times since 2010 (above). This male can be easily recognised for it had a minor condition in its left lower eyelid that is unable to open completely.
“The male was harvesting oil palm fruits, which were gobbled down its throat. A female, its mate, soon flew into view to perch on the oil palm tree. The female did not join the male to harvest for the fruits. She did not need to as the male came out to join her and offer her his share. Amazingly, an oil palm fruit was regurgitated from the male’s throat, which was then held nimbly at the tip of its gigantic bill (above). The male turned towards the female to offer her the fruit, which the female accepted (below). The fruit ended up at the tip of her bill before being tossed into her throat (bottom). The regurgitation and courtship feeding episode was repeated three times.
“Our meeting was short as the pair decided to venture elsewhere. Thanks for showing us your courtship feeding. Farewell for now – till we next meet again. ”
Kwong Wai Chong
31st March 2013