Papuan hornbill (Aceros plicatus)

loading
Papuan hornbill on ground
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Papuan hornbill fact file

Papuan hornbill description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderCoraciiformes
FamilyBucerotidae
GenusAceros (1)

With its large, curved bill; yellow and brown, bony casque (2), and reported laugh-like call (4), the Papuan hornbill is somewhat of a peculiar bird. The male is made even more unusual in appearance by the reddish-orange or golden-yellow plumage that surrounds the head and neck (2). Females differ by having a black head and neck. Both sexes have a largely black body, except for the contrasting short, white tail, and the bare, bluish-white skin around the eyes and throat (2). They also have red eyes, although those of the male are far brighter (2). The variety of honking and grunting calls of the Papuan hornbill are believed to have led to reports of this bird laughing (5).

Also known as
Blyth’s hornbill, kokomo, New Guinea hornbill, New Guinea wreathed hornbill, Papuan hornbill, plicated hornbill.
Synonyms
Buceros plicatus, Rhyticeros plicatus.
Size
Length: 65 – 85 cm (2)
Male weight: 1,190 – 2,000 g (2)
Female weight: 1,500 – 2,000 g (2)
Top

Papuan hornbill biology

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).

Top

Papuan hornbill range

Found in the Moluccan Islands (Indonesia), New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago, east to Solomon Islands (2), the Papuan hornbill is the only hornbill within this range (5).

Top

Papuan hornbill habitat

The Papuan hornbill inhabits evergreen primary and secondary forest (2), from sea level up to 1,500 metres (5). It may also be found in deciduous woodland alongside rivers and swamp-forest (2), as long as there are suitably large trees in which to nest (6).

Top

Papuan hornbill status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

Top

Papuan hornbill threats

Despite the loss of forest habitat in some parts of its range, the Papuan hornbill remains common in many areas, even abundant on certain islands (2). This may be due to its tolerance of a wide range of habitats (2), even those that have been recently logged (6). However, whilst the Papuan hornbill is not currently considered to be threatened with extinction (1), its tolerance for logged areas should be viewed with caution, as it does require large trees for nesting (6). Another potential threat is hunting, as it is said to be widely hunted (2). It has been reported that local people of New Guinea do not eat this bird, but use its distinctive beak in jewellery (4).

Top

Papuan hornbill conservation

There are no known conservation measures currently in place for the Papuan hornbill.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

To learn about conservation work in Papua New Guinea see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Casque
A bony growth on the head of an animal.
Deciduous
A plant that sheds its leaves at the end of the growing season.
Primary
Primary forest is forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2001) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (June, 2007)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Sillitoe, P. (2003) Managing Animals in New Guinea. Routledge, London.
  5. Strange, M. (2001) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  6. Marsden, S.J. (1998) Changes in bird abundance following selective logging on Seram, Indonesia. Conservation Biology, 12(3): 605 - 611.
  7. Diamond, J., Bishop, K.D. and Gilardi, J.D. (1999) Geophagy in New Guinea birds. Ibis, 141: 181 - 193.
X
Close

Image credit

Papuan hornbill on ground  
Papuan hornbill on ground

© Eric Lindgren / www.ardea.com

Ardea wildlife pets environment
59 Tranquil Vale
London
SE3 0BS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 318 1401
ardea@ardea.co.uk
http://www.ardea.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Papuan hornbill (Aceros plicatus) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog