Oriental Pied Hornbill taking a sand bath

Cecily Chia came across a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) at Pasir Ris Park with the female taking a sand bath. She managed to video them, keeping low so as not to alarm them. However, lighting became poor at that angle so she stood up again to continue to video their activities using her hand phone.

Like all birds, the Oriental Pied Hornbill maintains its feathers regularly – see HERE. The most common method encountered are preening and sunbathing.

Other methods of feather maintenance include water bathing, leaf bath and anting.

Sand or dust bathing – fluffing the feathers while stirring up the sand in a shallow depression is also common, documented in many birds like Little Green Bee-eaters (Merops orientalis), Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator), Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus) and Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).

However, sand bathing is rarely encountered and documented in a large bird like the Oriental Pied Hornbill. This is BESG’s first.

Cecily Chia
Singapore
24th July 2018

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