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Howard Banwell | profile | all galleries >> Wildlife >> Birds >> Singapore >> Hornbill Breeding tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

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Hornbill Breeding

Jeff Lim and I wrote a detailed paper on this nesting, entitled "Observations on a successful nesting of a pair of Oriental pied hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris, Shaw & Nodd, 1790) at Changi Village, Singapore."

A PDF copy can be downloaded from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research website (click on this link, article #37)

BACKGROUND

On March 14th a male Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros convexus) was sighted flying to an Angsana tree (Pterocarpus indicus) on Changi Village Road, near the intersection with Loyang Avenue. Further observation revealed that the male Oriental Pied Hornbill (OPH) was feeding a female and possible chicks, sealed inside a tree cavity approximately twelve to fifteen metres above the ground. While there have been several previous reports of attempted nesting by the OPH in the Changi area, none of these are known to have been successful. The decision was taken, therefore, to conduct regular observations of this nest to shed light on some critical aspects pertaining to successful breeding patterns of the species. Regular observations were conducted between March 14th and May 7th, 2009

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

Working back from known dates, it is probable that the female OPH sealed the nest cavity at the end of January. At least two eggs would then have been laid during the first two weeks of February and hatching of eggs would have occurred around the first week of March. By mid-April observations indicated that two sizeable chicks were being fed by the male, with the female still present in the nest.

Although no direct observation was made of this event, it is clear from local residents´┐Ż reports and subsequent observations that the female left the nest on April 19th. One of the two chicks also left the nest the same day, and was seen by local residents on the ground below the tree. It is likely that this chick then left with the female; certainly neither of them was seen after this date.

The male OPH continued to feed the single remaining chick until at least April 29th. No observations were made between April 30th and May 7th, on which date the second chick was no longer in the nest. Since up to that point the chick was healthy and well fed, it can be reasonably supposed that fledging occurred between those two dates. While direct observation of chicks leaving the nest was not possible, it is our assumption that the breeding of this pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills was successful, with at least one and probably two chicks fledging.
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