Writhed Hornbill

Rhabdotorrhinus leucocephalus

Red List Status: NT – Near Threatened, criteria C1 (IUCN 2020)

Distribution: Philippine endemic. Occurs in the south of the country on Mindanao and the nearby smaller islands of Dinagat, Siargao and Camiguin.

Description: 60-65 cm. Male 1012-1295 g. It is somewhat similar to Rufous-headed Hornbill; black with black-tipped white tail. Male has dark brown crown and hind neck; face and neck to upper breast are white but stained creamy by preen oil; bill, casque, pouch and facial skin red. Female is smaller with all-black body except for an orange-red bill, facial skin and pouch. Juveniles of both sexes resemble male in plumage, but the bill is small, paler and with no ridges and no casque. 

Voice: Generally rather silent; the call is a low ung ngeekngeek and a hissing phist

Audio from xeno-canto

Habits: The Writhed hornbill is found in primary lowland rainforest, mainly below 500 m elevation but recorded up to 1,100 m. It travels widely across the forest to and from roosting sites in search of fruiting trees. The food is mainly fruits, and it prefers to feed high in the canopy of large forest trees. It also takes some insects on the wing by hawking. It is usually seen in pairs, although flocks might form, and old records report groups of up to 37 birds together. It often mixes with the sympatric but much larger Rufous Hornbill at prime feeding and roosting sites.