Friday, March 6, 2009

The bird of Sarawak

by Tan Poh Ling

Sarawak is often known as the ‘Land of the Hornbills’. The Oriental Pied Hornbill is one of the common species of hornbill that can be found in the state of Sarawak. They are scientifically known as Anthracoceros albirostris of the family Bucerotidae.

Hornbills are physically large, black or brown, and white, arboreal birds, with long, heavy bills. It also has large protuberances on top of the bill which may be vibrantly coloured. Hornbills can be found in many countries such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Hornbills have a unique breading style. Each hornbill pair looks out for a suitable hollow in the tree trunk to raise a single chick. After a suitable cavity is found, female hornbill will then walls in by using mud supplied by her mate. Then she raises her chick on depending on food from the male. The male feeds them for the next three months and if he fails, both mother and chick may die. The birds consume different kinds of fruit.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill is quite small with coloured black and white, with a large yellow-white protuberance. It is one of the forest most eye-catching and gentle creature. They are mostly found inside the deep forest as they need huge trees for nesting. This endangered species usually move in a pack of 3 to 8.
Due to deforestation their habitats as well as their nesting area is destroyed. This is the main cause of their extinction. As hornbills are large birds that nest in hollow space, they require large diameter trees for nesting.

This bird is currently under a threatening condition. Let’s put our hand together in protecting this species for our future generations. We can help them by protecting their natural habitats and stop hunting them for our own benefits. We will not want our children to know this bird by only visiting the animal museum in future.

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