Blyth's hornbill

Latin Name
Rhyticeros plicatus

Class
Birds

Order
Coraciiformes

Description

A large bird, the Blyth's hornbill can reach up to three feet in height. Males and females both possess long, white tail feathers, black wings and bodies, and bright blue coloration around the eyes. The sexes can be distinguished by the color of the feathers on their heads. Females have black feathers, while males' heads are reddish-brown. The Blyth's hornbill's beak, which can reach up to 10 inches in length, is topped with a large, hollow structure called a casque. The purpose of this casque is subject to debate. Scientists have proposed a number of reasons, ranging from attracting mates to amplifying the hornbill's long calls.


 

Range

Indonesia east to the Solomon Islands


Status

Common. Lincoln Park Zoo participates in the Hornbill Species Survival Plan®, a shared conservation effort by zoos throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Habitat

Evergreen forests


Niche

Hornbills feed primarily on fruits and vegetables, such as melons, beans, berries and sweet potatoes. They will also catch the occasional small mammal.


Life History

The female Blythe's hornbill builds her nest by sealing herself in a hollow tree trunk with a wall of mud. A small hole is left in the wall, which the male spends weeks passing food through to his mate and offspring until the chicks are ready to leave the nest.




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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit