Monday, September 1, 2014

Creature Feature #317: Hornbill

The Hornbill Family can be found in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Melanesia.  They are characterised by their large, down-ward curving bill, which rather resembles the horn of a cow. The first and second neck vertebrae are fused, creating a stronger platform for supporting this unwieldly appendage. He follows an omnivorous diet, enjoying fruit and small animals. Most species form monogamous partnerships, and nest in natural cavities. The female decreases the size of the entrance hole with a wall of mud, droppings and fruit pulp, leaving just enough space for her to squeeze through. The male then seals her in so that only her beak can protrude. This is thought to be a means of preventing rival Hornbill pairs from stealing her nest and destroying her brood. When her chicks are old enough, she will break her way out.

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