Rufous-headed Hornbill

Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni

Red List Status: CR – Critically Endangered, criteria A2cd (IUCN 2018)

Also called Walden’s Hornbill.

Distribution: Philippine endemic. Occurs in the centre of the country in the Visayan Islands, where there are records from Negros, Panay and Guimaras. 

Description: 60-75 cm. Somewhat similar to Writhed Hornbill with grossy black plumage, basal third of tail and its tip black, the rest white. Male has dark brown crown and hindneck; face and neck to upper breast is paler brown or chestnut; bill and casque is red to orange with dark lines across base of lower mandible; pouch and facial skin yellow, eye red-brown then yellow. Female is smaller, with all-black body, blue facial skin and pouch, and red-brown eye. The juveniles of both sexes resemble adult male, but the bill is smaller, paler and casqueless and the eye pale blue then yellow, not red-brown like both adults. Female all-black plumage appears at first moult after one year but both sexes only appear fully mature by 3-4 years old. 

Voice: The call is a series of single mellow barks; also a loud, nasal lamb-like bleating wa-ha-ha

Audio for this species is restricted for the safety of the species. If you would like to find out more or ask recordists for their audio files, the xeno-canto page is linked here.

Habits: Occurs in lowland rainforest with closed canopy; found in both primary and selectively logged forest and has been seen in large trees in clearings. It ranges from the coast to 950 m elevation on Negros, to 1,200 m on Panay. Probably sedentary, but will travel locally in search of food. Food is mainly fruits, including figs; in breeding season diet comprises almost exclusively fruits (98%), including fruit of Moraceae, Pterocarpaceae and Icainaceae; while the rest is invertebrate prey, including snails, beetles and caterpillars. Usually seen in small groups of up to four birds; rarely 25-30.