Unsurprisingly, considering its rather large size and striking appearance, the Papuan hornbill is said to be a conspicuous bird, which can be seen flying high over the forest, frequently emitting its distinctive call and making a whooshing sound with the beats of its wings (5). Although the Papuan hornbill is usually recorded in pairs or small flocks (2), groups of up to 50 birds have also been reported (5).
Its feeds primarily on fruits, such as figs, but is also known to eat crabs found on beaches, the honeycomb of bees (2), and strangely, soil. The practice of eating soil, known as geophagy, may possibly be carried out to bind the poisonous or bitter tasting substances that are found in many fruits and seeds that the hornbill consumes, thus allowing it to digest these otherwise nutritious plant parts (7).
Although little is known about the breeding biology of the Papuan hornbill, it is thought to lay eggs from about August until October in the west of its range, and between January and May in the east (2). The female lays one to two eggs into a natural hole in a tree (2), which she has shut herself into by building a wall of mud and wood (4). The male feeds the female by regurgitating food through a small hole in this wall (2).