Sulu Hornbill

Anthracoceros montani

Red List Status: CR – Critically Endangered, criteria C2a(i,ii); D (IUCN 2020)

Distribution: Endemic to the Philippines; distributed in the Sulu Archipelago on the islands of Jolo and Tawi-Tawi; recently recorded also from Tandubatu, Dundangan and Baliungan

Description: 50 cm. Medium-sized hornbill; all-black, except for white tail. Male has creamy white iris; female has smaller bill and casque, eye dark brown. Juvenile has smaller casqueless greenish-yellow bill, skin around eyes grey (not black as in adults). This is the only hornbill within its range, so confusion with other birds is not possible. 

Voice: The call is a loud mishmash of cackles, clucks and shrieks. A common pattern is a rapid clucking punctuated by a loud squawk at the end.

Audio from xeno-canto


Habits:: Found in rainforest in lowlands as well as highlands. In recent years it has been reported to be typical for montane areas, but this could be because of clearance of lowland habitat more so than habitat preference. It depends on large forest trees for nesting, but has been observed feeding in cultivation and isolated trees over 1 km from nearest forest. It is reported to eat fruits as well as some animal prey, such as insects and small lizards. Probably it is sedentary within a small range; it usually moves in pairs.