Belum Hornbill

Belum Hornbill

Source: Malaysian Nature Society (, Wikipedia, images from internet various sources. This section is for educational purposes for visitors to Belum Temenggor / Royal Belum State park. For easier identification on your next Bird Watching trip, please print this page.

Hornbills (Bucerotidae) are a family of bird found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Melanesia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly-colored and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible. Both the common English and the scientific name of the family refer to the shape of the bill, “buceros” being “cow horn” in Greek. In addition, they possess a two-lobed kidney. Hornbills are the only birds in which the first two neck vertebrae (the axis and atlas) are fused together; this probably provides a more stable platform for carrying the bill. The family is omnivorous, feeding on fruit and small animals. They are monogamous breeders nesting in natural cavities in trees and sometimes cliffs. A number of species of hornbill are threatened with extinction, mostly insular species with small ranges.

The most distinctive feature of the hornbills is the heavy bill, supported by powerful neck muscles as well as by the fused vertebrae.The large bill assists in fighting, preening, and constructing the nest, as well as catching prey. A feature unique to the hornbills is the casque, a hollow structure that runs along the upper mandible. In some species it is barely perceptible and appears to serve no function beyond reinforcing the bill. In other species it is quite large, is reinforced with bone, and has openings between the hollow centre allowing serve as a resonator for calls. In the Helmeted Hornbill the casque is not hollow but is filled with ivory and is used as a battering ram used in dramatic aerial jousts. Aerial casque-butting has also been reported in the Great Hornbill.

The plumage of hornbills is typically black, grey, white, or brown, although typically offset by bright colours on the bill, or patches of bare coloured skin on the face or wattles. Some species exhibit sexual dichromatism; in the Abyssinian Ground-hornbill, for example, pure blue skin on the face and throat denotes an adult female, and red and blue skin denotes an adult male. The calls of hornbills are loud, and vary distinctly between different species.

Hornbills possess binocular vision, although unlike most birds with this type of vision the bill intrudes on their visual field. This allows them to see their own bill tip and aids in precision handling of food objects with their bill. The eyes are also protected by large eyelashes which act as a sunshade.

Hornbills are diurnal, generally travelling in pairs or small family groups. Larger flocks sometimes form in the non-breeding season. The largest assemblages of hornbills form at some roosting sites, where as many as 2400 individual birds may be found.

Species Found in Belum Temenggor / Royal Belum State Park, MALAYSIA

White-crowned Hornbill

The White-crowned Hornbill (Berenicornis comatus), also known as the White-crested Hornbill (leading to easy confusion with the African Tropicranus albocristatus), is a species of hornbill found in forests in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. It is monotypic within the genus Berenicornis, but rarely the White-crested Hornbill is also included in this genus, whereas the White-crowned Hornbill sometimes is placed in Aceros instead.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

Name: White-crowned Hornbill

Scientific Name: Berenicornis comatus

Local Name: Enggang Bulu


  • Male: 90 – 101 cm
  • Female: 90 – 101 cm


  • Male: All whitish head, neck, breast, tail and long shaggy whitish crest.
  • Female: Neck and underparts black


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, up to 1,000m.

Bushy-crested Hornbill

The Bushy-crested Hornbill (Anorrhinus galeritus) is a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Name: Bushy-crested Hornbill

Scientific Name: Anorrhinus galeritus

Local Name: Enggang Kawan/Enggang Buluh


  • Male: 89 cm
  • Female: 89 cm


  • Male: Completely dark plumage with thick drooping crest, somewhat paler and grayer vent and paler dirty brownish-grey basal two-thirds of tail distinctive. Bill and small casque blaish, bare orbital and gular skin pale.
  • Female: Casque smaller, throat and underparts dark brownish.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, secondary forest; up to 1,500m

Wrinkled Hornbill

The Wrinkled Hornbill or Sunda Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) is a medium-large hornbill which is found in forest in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. It has sometimes been placed in the genus Rhyticeros together with most other species generally placed in Aceros.

The Wrinkled Hornbill is around 70 cm long, and has a very large bill that is fused to the skull. It has mainly black plumage, a blue eye-ring, and a broadly white or rufous-tipped tail. The male and female have different head and bill patterns. Males have bright yellow feathers on the auriculars, cheeks, throat, neck-sides and chest, but these areas are black in the female, except for the blue throat. The bill of the male is yellow with a red base and casque, and a brownish basal half of the lower mandible. The bill and casque of the female is almost entirely yellow.

This is a forest species and eats mainly fruit, such as figs, although it will also eat small animals such as frogs and insects. Wrinkled Hornbills do not drink, but get the water they need from their food. Their call is a harsh “Kak-kak,” or a deep “Row-wow” which can be heard for miles.

These birds are monogamous and remain in a pair for life. They use holes found in trees for nests, and the female will plaster over the entrance with mud and droppings, leaving a nesting mother and her chicks only a small hole, too small for them to exit. They are fed exclusively by the male, who regurgitates food for them. After several months, when the chicks are ready, the female will break out of her nest.

Wrinkled Hornbills were first bred in captivity in 1988.

Name: Wrinkled Hornbill

Scientific Name: Aceros corrugatus

Local Name: Enggang Berkedut


  • Male: 81 – 82 cm
  • Female: 81 – 82 cm


  • Male: Resembles the Wreathed Hornbill but smaller, with smaller yellow bill and reddish base somewhat squarer-looking reddish casque, blue orbital skin, unmarked and less bulging gular pouch. White of tail often strongly stained buffish to yellowish.
  • Female: Less bulging gular pouch, less pronounced crest and black base of tail.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, freshwater swamp forest, lowlands

Wreathed Hornbill

The Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus), also known as the Bar-pouched Wreathed Hornbill, is a species of hornbill found in forests from far north-eastern India and Bhutan, east and south through mainland south-east Asia and the Greater Sundas, except Sulawesi. It is 75–100 cm (30–40 in) long. Males weigh from 1.8 kg (4 lbs) to 3.65 kg (8 lbs), females weigh from 1.36 kg (3 lbs) to 2.7 kg (6 lbs). Both sexes are similar to the respective sexes of the closely related Plain-pouched Hornbill, but the Wreathed Hornbill can be recognized by the dark bar on the lower throat (hence the alternative common name; Bar-pouched). Though commonly considered monotypic, evidence suggests there is a level of geographical variation in the appearance.

Name: Wreathed Hornbill

Scientific Name: Aceros undulates

Local Name: Enggang Gunung


  • Male: 100.5 – 115 cm
  • Female: 84 – 98 cm


  • Male: Centre of crown to hindneck shaggy warmish dark brown, bill pale dull yellowish with darker corrugated base (not always obvious), casque small and short with dark ridges, orbital skin reddish. Tail often slightly stained yellowish to brownish.
  • Female: Head, neck and breast black. Gular pouch, blue.


  • Broadleaved evergreen and mixed deciduous forest, forests on islands; up to 1,830 m.

Plain-pouched Hornbill

The Plain-pouched Hornbill (Rhyticeros subruficollis) is a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family. It is found in forests of the Dawna Range and the Tenasserim Hills of southern Burma, adjacent parts of western Thailand and northern Peninsular Malaysia.

It is threatened by habitat loss.

Name: Plain-pouched Hornbill

Scientific Name: Aceros subruficollis

Local Name: Enggang Hutan


  • Male: 86.5 – 89.5 cm
  • Female: 76 – 84 cm


  • Male: Very similar to the Wreathed Hornbill but somewhat smaller, bill shorter with warm brownish base and no corrugations, casque slightly more peaked with more dark ridges. Lacks blackish streak on gular pouch.
  • Female: Gular pouch, blue.


  • Broadleaved evergreen and mixed deciduous forest, up to 915 m.

Black Hornbill

The Black Hornbill, Anthracoceros malayanus, is a species of bird of the hornbill family Bucerotidae.

It lives in Asia in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India.

Name: Black Hornbill

Scientific Name: Anthracoceros malayanus

Local Name: Burung Kekek/Burung Gatal Birah


  • Male: 76 cm
  • Female: 76 cm


  • Male: Relatively small size, black plumage with broadly white-tipped outertail and unmarked yellowish-white bill and casque. Facial skin blackish.
  • Female: Bill and casque smaller and blackish, orbital skin and submoustachial patch pinkish.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, up to 215m.

Oriental Pied Hornbill

The Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) is a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family. It is found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, ranging across Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. The Oriental Pied Hornbill’s diet includes wild fruit (esp. figs, genus Ficus) and other fruit such as rambutans, along with small reptiles such as lizards and frogs, and larger insects.

Name: Oriental Pied Hornbill

Scientific Name: Antharacoceros albirostris

Local Name: Burung Kelingking/Burung Lilin


  • Male: 68 – 70 cm
  • Female: 68 – 70 cm


  • Male: Relatively small size and mostly black, with white facial markings. Belly vent and pale yellowish bill and casque with dark markings.
  • Female: Bill and casque small and more extensively dark.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, island forest, secondary growth, sometimes coastal scrub, plantations and gardens, up to 1,400m.

Rhinoceros Hornbill

The Rhinoceros Hornbill, Buceros rhinoceros, is one of the largest hornbills, adults being approximately the size of a swan, 91–122 cm (36–48 in) long and weighing 2–3 kg (4.4–6.6 lbs). The Rhinoceros Hornbill lives in captivity for up to 35 years. It is found in lowland and montane, tropical and subtropical rain forest up to 1,400 metres altitude in Borneo, Sumatra, Java, the Malay Peninsula, Singapore and southern Thailand.

Like most other hornbills, the male has orange or red eyes, and the female has whitish eyes. This bird has a mainly white beak and casque (the tip of the casque curves upward strikingly), but there are orange places here and there. It has white underparts, especially to the tail.

The courtship and bonding of these birds are critical, as the female must trust the male to provide her with everything when she is incubating and raising chicks. These hornbills lay their eggs inside tree trunks and the female stays inside with the eggs and then with the chicks, while the male brings them food. After the eggs are laid, the male collects mud and the pair pack that mud, along with food and feces, to wall up the tree cavity entrance. This creates a very small hole, only large enough for the male to feed the female (and later chicks) and for the female to defecate out the hole. Once the babies are fully feathered and old enough to leave the nest, the parents chip away the dry mud so the chicks can get out.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill eats fruit, insects, small reptiles, rodents and smaller birds.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is the state bird of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. For some Dayak people, it represents their war god, Singalang Burong.

Name: Rhinoceros Hornbill

Scientific Name: Buceros rhinoceros

Local Name: Enggang


  • Male: 91 – 122 cm
  • Female: 91 – 122 cm


  • Male: Very large with bright red and yellow upward-curved casque with black base. Mostly black with white lower belly undertail-coverts, and white tail with broad black band across center.
  • Female: Smaller, lacks black on casque and at bill-casque junction, eyes whitish.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, up to 1,220m.

Great Hornbill

The Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) also known as Great Indian Hornbill or Great Pied Hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family. Great Hornbills are found in the forests of Nepal, India, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, Indonesia. Their impressive size and colour have made them important in many tribal cultures and rituals. The Great Hornbill is long-lived, living for nearly 50 years in captivity. They are predominantly frugivorous although they are opportunists and will prey on small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Name: Great Hornbill

Scientific Name: Buceros bicornis

Local Name: Enggang Papan


  • Male: 119 – 122 cm
  • Female: 119 – 122 cm


  • Male: Very large with huge, mostly yellowish bill and casque, mostly blackish plumage with white nape and neck. White vent and white tail with black central band.
  • Female: Smaller, lacks black on casque and at bill-casque junction, eyes whitish.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, mixed deciduous, forest on some islands; up to 1,525m.

Helmeted Hornbill

The Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) is a very large bird in the hornbill family. It is found in the Malay peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo.

It has mostly blackish plumage except that the belly and legs are white and the tail is white with each feather having a black band near the tip. The tail is long and the two central tail feathers are much longer than the others, giving the bird a total length greater than that of any other hornbill species. The body length is 110–120 cm (43–47 in), not counting the tail feathers, which boost the length a further 50 cm (20 in). Males average 3.1 kg (6.8 lb) in weight and females about 2.7 kg (6.0 lb). Although sometimes considered the largest Asian hornbill, they weigh a bit less than the Great Hornbill (and considerably less than the African ground hornbills).

This species has a bare, wrinkled throat patch, blue in females and red in males. The casque goes from the base of the bill halfway to the tip, where it ends abruptly. It and the bill are yellow; the red secretion of the preen gland covers the sides and top of the casque and the base of the bill, but often leaves the front end of the casque and the distal half of the bill yellow. Unlike other hornbills, the Helmeted Hornbill’s casque is solid, and the skull including the casque and bill may constitute 10 percent of the bird’s weight.

The call is described as hoots followed by maniacal laughter.

This bird eats mostly fruit, especially figs. It may also use the casque as a weighted tool to dig into rotten wood and loose bark in search of insects and similar prey. Unlike many fruit-eating hornbills, it is sedentary and pairs maintain a territory. Males fight over territory on the wing, ramming each other with their casques.

The casque is the source of a valuable carving material, hornbill ivory. Indigenous peoples also use the central tail feathers to decorate dancing cloaks and head-dresses.

As it is hunted in some areas and losing habitat, the Helmeted Hornbill is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix I of CITES.

Name: Helmeted Hornbill

Scientific Name: Rhinoplax vigil

Local Name: Burung Tebang Mentua/Burung Torak


  • Male: 127 cm
  • Female: 127 cm


  • Male: Very large with elongated central tail feathers and bare dark red skin on sides of head, throat and neck.
  • Female: Smaller, bill speckled black at tip, skin of face and neck tinged pale lilac.


  • Broadleaved evergreen forest, up to 1,400m.

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