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The common name of this hornbill derives from the coloration of the males -- rufous head and underparts, with black back and wings; females are dark brown to black all over. There is a ring of bare, blue skin around the red eyes, and the bill is yellow with black and white barcode-like stripes.
Both males and females call with loud kup or kok notes.
Distribution and Habitat
This hornbill is found in mature, dense, evergreen and broadleaf forests of Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and northeast India. It is most commonly found between 1,800 and 5,400 feet, but has been known to appear down to about 450 feet. There is evidence that some populations make seasonal movements between forested areas in response to variations in the abundance of fruiting trees.
Habitat destruction and hunting have dramatically reduced populations in the wild, and many populations survive only by virtue of national parks and/or preserves.
Rufous-necked hornbills usually travel widely in search of fruiting trees. They use the tips of their beaks like forceps to pluck fruit (nutmegs, pears and figs being favored), and they supplement their diet with lizards, mice and nestling birds.
The female uses her droppings to cement herself into a tree hole, leaving only a narrow slit through which the male provides food and the female defecates. Two or three eggs are laid in April and incubated through the dry season (about 125 days). After the eggs hatch, she breaks out of the cavity and replasters the entrance behind her. Both parents then feed the chicks until they are ready to fly.
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This page was last updated on June 11, 2017.