Oriental Pied Hornbill is Koh Chang’s Tall Trees Surprise
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Koh Chang is blessed with a natural wonder in Oriental Pied Hornbill. As a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family, the Oriental Pied Hornbill is endemic in Southeast Asia. Its natural habitat is the subtropical or the tropical rainforests and with this type of habitation, Koh Chang’s offered a natural sanctuary for this species.
Anthracoceros albirostris is the scientific name of the Oriental Pied Hornbill. It is considered a large bird at about 70 centimeters in length and has black and white plumage. Its distinguishing feature is its large, long bill. Though its bill appears as heavy but in reality it’s not because it is not made of solid bone but of honeycombed tissue. Adult Oriental Pied Hornbill has a knob on top of the bill which is yellow-white. The male is distinguished by larger knob with few black marks, while the female has smaller knob. As a black and white bird, its physical features include a white belly and thighs, and white accents around its eye area, on its wing tips and tail. The Oriental Pied Hornbills eat mainly wild fruits, but they also take insects and small animals like lizards, frogs, insects, birds and mammals. They often seen in pairs or small groups and made distinct with their harsh and penetrating loud staccato cackling yak-yak-yak calls.
Oriental Pied Hornbills nest in a suitable hole in tall trees. The male usually seals the female inside the hole with a plaster of mud and fibrous materials. A narrow slit is left open so the male can feed the female and the chicks with fruits, insects, lizards and sometimes small birds. When the chicks are grown up and ready to take their first flight away from the nest, both the male and female adult parents clear and open wide the hole of the tree for easy exit. Though in general condition, the Oriental Pied Hornbill is classified as “least concern” in the conservation status, but in some countries such as Singapore it is regarded as “critically endangered” due to rising incidence of hunting for its meat, feathers and bill. In Koh Chang, they enjoy the relative protection as the area is under Mu Koh Chang National Park.