Papuan Hornbill

Rhyticeros plicatus

Red List Status: LC – Least Concern, (IUCN 2020)

Also called Blyth’s Hornbill.

Distribution: Occurs in eastern Indonesia from northern Moluccas east across New Guinea to Bismarck and Solomon Islands. The only Australasian hornbill species. 

Description: 65-85 cm. Male 1190-2000 g; female 1500-2000 g. It is the only hornbill within its range. Black with white tail; pouch and facial skin bluish. Male has rufous head and neck, female all-black but differs from female Plain-pouched Hornbill by having blue orbital skin instead of dull red. Juveniles of both sexes like adult male except for smaller casqueless bills. 

Voice: The calls are raucous grunts while perched; in flight it honks continuously, ka-ka-ka-ka

Audio from xeno-canto

Habits: Occurs in rainforest from the coast into hills and lower montane areas to 1,500 m elevation, rarely to 1,800 m. Found in both primary and secondary forest as well as riverine woodland and swamp forest. Feeds mainly on fruits, both figs and other varieties, such as Arenga pinnata, A. accarifera (Arecaceae), Canarium indica, C. commune (Burseraceae), Horsfieldia sylvestris, Myristica fatua (Myristicaceae), Chisocheton sp (Meliaceae). It also takes some animal food and has been reported feeding on crabs on the beach and on bee honeycomb. Usually seen as a resident pair together, sometimes in small flocks; at communal roosts hundreds have been reported to gather. It flies high across the forest to and from fruiting trees and will cross open water to get to offshore islands.