Black Hornbill

Anthracoceros malayanus

Red List Status: VU – Vulnerable, criteria A2cd+3cd+4cd (IUCN 2018)

Distribution: Occurs in the Sunda subregion: from south Thailand into Peninsular Malaysia; Sumatra, including offshore islands of Singkep, Bangka and Belitung; Borneo. 

Description: 75-80 cm. Male 1050 g. Medium-sized black hornbill; differs from the sympatric Oriental Pied Hornbill by its entirely black underparts and lack of white trailing edge in wings visible during flight. Outer tail feathers tipped white. Most (85%) of individuals have prominent white or pale grey superciliary stripes; the rest (15%) have dark grey hardly visible stripes. Male has ivory bill with large casque and dark orbital skin; female has black bill with small casque and pinkish orbital skin around brown eyes. Juveniles have smaller pale greenish bills without casques. 

Voice: The voice is somewhat crow-like with loud harsh braying notes rising and falling in pitch. 

Audio from xeno-canto

Habits: Occurs in primary lowland rainforest, usually below 200 m elevation, rarely up to 600 m; frequently near water courses and often seen in alluvial flood plains and swamp forest; extends into mature secondary forest and forest edges nearby. Where it overlaps with Oriental Pied Hornbill it can be found deeper within closed forest. It feeds mainly on larger lipid-rich fruits; it takes fewer figs, although 17 varieties have been identified. In a peat swamp forest of southern Thailand, fruit food of Cryptocaya ferea (Lauraceae) Aglaia rubiginosa (Meliaceae), Horsfieldia spp, Myristica spp (Myristicaceae) are recorded. Its fruit food recorded from Borneo is similar, Polyalthia (Annonaceae), Aglaia and Myristica. It also takes small animal food items including insects, skinks and bird eggs; it has been observed catching bats emerging from their cave at dusk and then feeding them to juveniles. When in the forest, it feeds inside the canopy, often visiting fruiting trees at dawn. It will use its powerful bill to split husks and tear into bark. It appears to be sedentary and territorial; usually a pair will be seen together, only rarely in flocks, then mainly of juveniles; up to 33 birds have been recorded together.