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8 species of hornbills you can spot in Sabah

Sarawak might be called the “Land of the Hornbills” but plenty of these birds also call neighbouring state – Sabah – home.

Nature lovers or avid bird watchers will find this Sabah Tourism Board infographic handy as it details the types of hornbills which can be found there along with their measurements from head to tail.

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Check out how else these hornbills differ from each other:

1. Bushy-crested hornbill (Anorrhinus galeritus)

Bushy-crested hornbills prefer roaming around subtropical and tropical lowland areas.

It is a dark-coloured bird and its tail is grey-brown with a broad black tip.

Its diet include figs, fruits, cockroaches, mantis and millipedes.

2. Asian black hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)

We would not be able to enjoy durian if it were not for this particular hornbill.

Asian black hornbill is known to be a major durian seeds disperser.

The bird is black overall except for its broad white-banded outer tail and its pale yellow casque.

3. Oriental-pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)

The oriental-pied hornbill is a black and white bird with a white belly and thighs. The casque, however is yellowish.

The male has a larger casque with few black marks while the female has a smaller casque with more black marks.

This hornbill is considered more common among the Asian hornbill.

4. Wrinkled hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus)

One characteristic of the wrinkled hornbill which stands out are its blue eye rings.

Plus, the males and females of the species look like they come from different families altogether.

The male’s bill is yellow with a red base and its casque is brown on the lower mandible while the bill and casque of the females are almost completely yellow.

Males have bright yellow feathers on the neck, chest and cheeks, but they are black in the females.

5. White-crowned hornbill (Berenicornis cormatus)

With white crown feathers on its crest, this particular hornbill is like the Andy Warhol of its kind.

It can be easily distinguished by its white head, neck, breast and tail while the remaining plumage is black.

It is also known as the long-crested hornbill or white-crested hornbill.

6. Wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus)

Also known as the bar-pouched wreathed hornbill, you can recognise it by its yellow inflatable pouch on its throat

The casque is corrugated and it has overall black plumage with short white tail.

Males and females of wreathed hornbills look similar but the females weigh averagely lighter than the males

7. Rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)

Like the rhinoceros, this hornbill has a huge bill and casque which come in orange and red.

The males’ eyes are red with black rims while the females have white with red rims.

The plumage is mostly black with white legs and its white tail has a black band.

It enjoys mostly fruit but will eat insects, rodents, small reptiles too.

8. Helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil)

First of all, this hornbill has a very heavy head. Its casque accounts up to 11 per cent of its 3kg weight.

It has mostly blackish plumage, except that the belly and legs are white.

The throat is wrinkly; pale blue to greenish in colour in females and red in males.

Where to find them?

Now that you can roughly tell these hornbills apart, where can you find them in Sabah?

According to Sabah Tourism Board website, all eight species can be spotted in one place- the Kinabatangan River – the second longest river in Malaysia and renowned for its diverse ecosystem.

Besides hornbills, the river also plays home to proboscis monkeys, orangutan and Asian elephants.

Time to pack the binoculars and a field guide book and head to Kinabatangan!

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