“Life is about choices, and some we make may ‘haunt us’. I was preparing to join a friend who had spotted some Bornean Bristlehead when I heard loud hornbill calls outside my bedroom.
“I was living in a resort adjacent to the primary jungle of the Rain-forest Discovery Center at Sepilok. I had not realised that there was a fruiting ficus outside my window. It was 5.30am in the morning and dawn was just breaking (early here). I jumped out with my camera.
“There were 3 Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros borneoensis), 3-4 Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) and 3 Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris).
“As I watched many more were flying in. It was dilemma – to watch these birds in hand or join my friends who were waiting for me to see the Bornean Bristlehead some distance away? I took what images I could and then rushed off to meet the others. As I left there were at least 25 hornbills with the majority being Black Hornbills – a mixture of adults and juveniles.
“Images of Black Hornbill, top-down: 1. a male; 2. a female in low light; 3. a composite that shows the two variants of the male Black Hornbill (I met another one later in better light). Some of the adults have a white or pale grey superciliary stripe. Phillipps (2014) say this happens in 50%; Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive says 85% of individuals have a white/pale stripe (Kemp, Boesman, Sharpe, 2016)…
“…Above a composite that shows the tail feathers in flight and rest from – the white feathers are not seen from the dorsal view except in flight; from the ventral can see the white feathers with longer black one protruding behind.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
2nd May 2016
Location: Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
Habitat: Secondary growth adjacent primary jungle