Wreathed hornbills at the zoo!
The zoo has recently welcomed a new bird species: the wrethed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus).
The first that can be spotted in the bird aviary is the female who is 20 years old and comes from Germany. It should be joined by a mate born on the US in the near future.
Whereas the face and the feathers of the female are entirely black (except the white rectrices on the tail), the male has a creamy white face, red-brown feathers on the top of his head and his neck. The skin of his throat is yellow while that of the female is blue. There are prominent orange-brown ridges on the bill and the casque. Hornbills are distinguished by this hollow protuberance on the top of their bill. Its size, shape and color differ according to the species and sex of the animal. It has probably multiple functions although poorly known: resonating chamber used to broadcast their vocalizations, social marker indicating the status of the animal, secondary sexual character…
Wreathed hornbills are gregarious birds: they move in large flocks looking for fruits. More than 1,000 birds have already been sighted on a same site! Their diet consists mainly of fruits but occasionally includes insects and small vertebrates.
Shortly before laying its eggs, the female seals herself inside the cavity of a tree trunk and close the entrance with droppings. It will emerge from the nest several months later, when the chick fledges. During all this time, it is fed through a narrow slit by the male who keeps going back and forth to feed his mate and then his chick.
The species isn’t threatened in short term as it lives in many Asian countries. It remains hunted in some areas and its distribution is now patchy because of significant deforestation in this region.