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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 17 Incredible Helmeted Hornbill Facts

Helmeted hornbill facts about the colorful bird found in Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar

Helmeted hornbill (rhinoplax vigil) is a critically endangered wildlife species of birds. They belong to the Bucerotidae family. The helmeted hornbill's most striking features are their solid casques. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN red list of the threatened species, the conservation status of hornbill species is upgraded from near threatened to critically endangered by BirdLife International since their hunting takes place in large amounts for their ivory like casque. People make jewelry like hornbill ivory from this unique casque. This species, commonly found in Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, China, and is in severe need of conservation and is in fact protected by law in many countries.

Here are some fascinating facts about this fascinating bird species with a unique ivory like casque. If you like reading this article, do check our other animal fact files on hornbill facts and great hornbill facts.

Helmeted Hornbill Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a helmeted hornbill?

A helmeted hornbill is a bird. This hornbill is said to have a unique ritual of communicating with other helmeted hornbills that can be seen during mid-season.

What class of animal does a helmeted hornbill belong to?

A helmeted hornbill belongs to the bird class of animals and can be found in forest regions of Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and Indonesia (Sumatra and Borneo).

How many helmeted hornbill are there in the world?

The population density of a helmeted hornbill (rhinoplax vigil) across the natural habitat is 0.19-2.6 birds per 0.38 sq mile (1 sq. km). The population has tremendously decreased due to habitat loss. On seeing their population, the BirdLife International changed their status from near threatened to critically endangered. Their conservation has become very important as this fruit eating bird must be protected from getting extinct.

Where does a helmeted hornbill live?

A helmeted hornbill lives in a tropical rainforest among similar species of Helmeted birds. Hornbills are known to migrate in flocks that goes on for months.

What is a helmeted hornbill's habitat?

A helmeted hornbill is usually found in rainforests. This birdlife avoids open places and sticks around to the tree covered lands. Helmeted hornbills prefer to stay away from the seashores in groups. They are very often found in mountainous regions. The majority of their diet consists of figs hence they find habitat in regions with large numbers of fig trees. These birds do not build nests. Their nests are naturally occurring hollow trees. They sometimes feed on the small wildlife around them.

Who do helmeted hornbill live with?

Helmeted hornbills live in groups with other Hornbills of their own species and other wildlife.

How long does a helmeted hornbill live?

A helmeted hornbill can live up to 15 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Helmeted hornbills are monogamous birds, they have the same mating partner for a lifetime. The reproductive rate of helmeted hornbills is low. During the breeding season, helmeted hornbills find a very hollow tree to nest. The female helmeted hornbill seals herself in the tree cavity during the whole nesting period. The feathers of females are known to shed in the nesting period and thus she is completely dependent on the male to feed her and the chick. Helmeted hornbills usually lay a single egg. The nesting period is very long for this species. It ranges from 90-167 days. The male helmeted hornbill is responsible for the feeding and protection of both the female and the chick during the whole nesting period.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of a helmeted hornbill is critically endangered. Their population is near threatened.

Helmeted Hornbill Fun Facts

What do helmeted hornbill look like?

A helmeted hornbill (rhinoplax vigil) is mostly black in color. Their heads are large. They have white feathers on their belly and legs. Male helmeted hornbills have a red colored throat patch and the female helmeted hornbill have a blue to green colored throat patch. Their throat patch is bare and has no feathers on it. The tail of a helmeted hornbill is very long. Specifically, the central tail feathers grow the longest. The feathers of the tails each are white in color and have a black band at the end. Their bill is the most striking feature. A helmeted hornbill beak is very thick and has a solid casque above it. The casques of helmeted hornbills are the main reason for their hunting. The helmeted hornbill's casque is a solid large bump on its bill. Both are yellow in color. These wild animals have round dark eyes. The body weight of males is greater than females.

Helmeted Hornbill is an endangered species due to illegal bird trade.

How cute are they?

A helmeted hornbill cannot be called cute but is certainly a colorful bird whose tail feathers are used by native people to decorate cloaks and headdresses.

How do they communicate?

The helmeted hornbill has a very weird ritual of communication among the males. The males of this species poke their bills on the trees and then take flights in the opposite direction. This group on their way back to the tree they hit their casque to casques of other helmeted hornbills. This ritual is said to be done among the males over territory and food. The voice of a helmeted hornbill is very loud. Its call can be heard 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away. These wild animals call out to their mates when they encounter danger.

How big is a helmeted hornbill?

A helmeted hornbill is a huge bird. It has a 38-47 in (96.5-119.3 cm) long body. This length is measured without considering the tail feathers. The tail feathers can grow up to additional 20 in (50.8 cm). Helmeted hornbill's wingspan range is 60-70 in (152.4-177.8 cm) on average, but birds of this species with even greater heights have been noted. Helmeted hornbills are at least five times bigger than a crow.

How fast can a helmeted hornbill fly?

A helmeted hornbill can fly as fast as 18 mph (28.9 kph).

How much does a helmeted hornbill weigh?

A male helmeted hornbill can weigh up to 6.8 lb (3.08 kg). Females are smaller than males. Hence, their weight is around 6.2 lb (2.81 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Helmeted hornbills do not have separate names assigned for the males and females of their species. They are known as males and females respectively.

What would you call a baby helmeted hornbill ?

A baby helmeted hornbill is called a chick.

What do they eat?

Helmeted hornbills eat fruits, mostly figs. They also prey on small animals and mammals for their dietary requirements.

Are they dangerous?

Helmeted hornbills are not dangerous to humans. The case is rather vice-versa. Hunting these innocent birds decreases their population and gives them less importance regarding its conservation.

Would they make a good pet?

A helmeted hornbill is a very protected birdlife. Bird Life International does not allow to have helmeted hornbills as pets.

Did you know...

A special ornament is created from helmeted hornbills named hornbill ivory. The hornbill ivory is a very valuable piece of jewelry.

Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo have black markets that trade helmeted hornbills.

Kubah National Park in Sarawak in Malaysia, Budo-Sun­gai Padi National Park in Thailand are making consistent efforts all over their nations to prevent the trade of helmeted hornbills.

What is helmeted hornbill hunted for?

The poaching of helmeted hornbills is done illegally on a large scale. The countries like Sumatra, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, China, and Thailand are the hotspots for the illegal poaching of birdlife. Hunters set up a trap to catch and hunt these birds to trade their casques. Their solid casques are equivalent to ivory. Ivory is used to make jewelry. Even though poaching of birdlife is strictly prohibited internationally, that does not stop illegal black market trades.

Why is helmeted hornbills called farmers of the forest?

Helmeted hornbills maintain the health of the forests. This species' main food source is fruits. In their search for food and eating of the fruits, they tend to drop fruit seeds all over the forest. These seeds then take root and grow up to become beautiful trees, adding to the forest habitat. That is why helmeted hornbills are called farmers of the forests.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these magnificent frigatebird facts and swan goose facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our helmeted hornbill coloring pages.

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