Fun Wreathed Hornbill Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Oct 20, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Aug 29, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Interesting wreathed hornbill facts that will amaze you.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Hornbills are fascinating tropical birds found in Africa, Asia, and Melanesia. The species was described by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, a French polymath, botanist, and zoologist.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about a special species belonging to this colorful bird family including details about their primary diet, species that are closely related to them, range, breeding, and nesting habits!

The wreathed hornbill belongs to the Bucerotidae family and is the genus of Rhyticeros, it was first introduced and described as Rhyticeros undulatus by George Kearsley Shaw, an English botanist, and zoologist in 1811.

The species are found in forests across the east and south mainland of Southeast Asia including Eastern India, east and south Bhutan, Greater Sundas in Indonesia, except Sulawesi.

It is commonly known as a bar-pouched bird or bar-pouched wreathed hornbill.

They are often confused with the plain pouched but can be recognized by the dark bar on the lower throat.

Wreathed hornbills are generally considered as monotypic species, but many taxonomists and zoologists speculate there might be subspecies as certain evidence suggests geographical variation in their appearance. They are commonly known as the Malayan wreathed hornbill.

Learn about some other birds from our glossy ibis facts and green heron facts pages.

Wreathed Hornbill Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wreathed hornbill?

The wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) is a bird belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a wreathed hornbill belong to?

Wreathed hornbills belong to the Aves class, are the genus of Rhyticeros, and are closely related to the plain-pouched hornbill.

How many wreathed hornbills are there in the world?

The accurate population size of these birds is unknown. However, their population rate has declined over 38% in the past three generations mainly because of habitat loss and is speculated to reach 49% if the conditions affecting them remain constant and necessary steps for their conservation are not taken.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has listed them as Vulnerable species.

Where does a wreathed hornbill live?

They are native to the east and south mainland of Southeast Asia and their range occupies countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, Eastern India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, in Indonesia except for Sulawesi, and some islands in south-east Asia.

They are not migratory, the wreathed hornbill or bar-pouched wreathed hornbill juveniles may fledge post-breeding to another location but not outside the species range.

They feed and breed within their range as well.

What is a wreathed hornbill's habitat?

The natural habitat of the wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) species includes tropical and subtropical forests, primary evergreen forests, moist lowlands, and montane forests.

Who do wreathed hornbills live with?

Wreathed hornbills live in flocks of up to 20 individuals. They travel, forage and even bathe together at communal feeding, roosting, and bathing sites. Roosting sites sometimes have up to 400 hornbills.

How long does a wreathed hornbill live?

The wreathed hornbill lifespan in the wild is up to 40 years, to 50 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

All species of hornbills including the bar-pouched wreathed hornbill are monogamous and mate for life. The breeding season varies according to their geographical distribution.

In India, the breeding season begins in April and lasts until June, in Thailand and Myanmar it starts in January and ends in March, whereas in Indonesia the season is from March to September.

They are not territorial and live in flocks even during this whole process.

They prefer living at lower altitudes during the breeding season as compared to their usual altitudinal preferences. About six or seven days before mating, each pair will seek out a tree cavity to lay their eggs in.

After which, a male seals his female partner inside the cavity by blocking the entrance fully with twigs, fruit pulp, soil, or mud, except a small portion so that he can provide food for and meet the diet requirements for her, and the young chicks as well.

In the course of incubation, as the female stays inside the cavity for at least four months she completely molts old feathers and regrows new feathers.

A wreathed hornbill female lays up to two or three pale white eggs and leaves the cavity only when the chicks are ready to fledge.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has classified the wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) as species Vulnerable to potential extinction.

Wreathed Hornbill Fun Facts

What do wreathed hornbills look like?

Unlike the plain-pouched hornbill, in an adult wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) the overall plumage is blackish, with a short white tail to contrast it.

The wreathed hornbill male and female would be identical if it wasn't for their yellow and blue colored gular pouch. The male wreathed hornbill bird has a rufous crowned dark brown forehead, and a bright lemon yellow throat, their eyes are large and circular with vivid red irises.

Whereas females have a black forehead, and a bright blue throat, they also have large circular eyes but brown irises.

Both males and females have an off-white or creamy bill and a bluish-black band or stripe running through the bottom center of the pouch, the skin around their eyes and nape is reddish-pink.

A few white markings can be seen at the sides of their head, upper breast, and fore neck. Adult birds have prominent ridges compared to the chicks, they do appear similar to males but lack casque and ridges on the bill and their irises are pale blue.

Juveniles have bare skin, a smaller head, and the pouch is faded yellow or blue

Fun facts about the wreathed hornbills for kids.

How cute are they?

The wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) looks fierce and not cute. Its cherry-red eyes, almost bare nape and neck, short tail, black wings, a pop of color on the throat, and a large bill make them look intimidating. However, that makes them easily identifiable.

How do they communicate?

The wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) or bar-pouched wreathed hornbill communicates via vocalizations. The wreathed hornbill call is a three-note call that sounds like 'oek-uk-uk' and is repeated several times at a high decibel. They move their bill upwards every time they add a note to the call to make sure it is loud enough.

How big is a wreathed hornbill?

An adult wreathed hornbill grows up to 29.5-39.3 in (75-100 cm) in size. Males are slightly larger than females.

A wreathed hornbill is nearly three times bigger than a macaw.

How fast can a wreathed hornbill fly?

The speed rate of a wreathed hornbill is unknown. However, their long and broad wings make a loud 'whooshing' sound while flying due to their swift movements. 

How much does a wreathed hornbill weigh?

An adult male wreathed hornbill weighs about 5.9 lb (2.7 kg), whereas females weigh around 7.9 lb (3.65 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species of a wreathed hornbill do not have separate names and are referred to as male and female hornbills themselves.

What would you call a baby wreathed hornbill?

A baby or young wreathed hornbill is called a wreathed hornbill chick, the eggs they are hatched from are pale white and incubated for a long time.

What do they eat?

The species is generally frugivorous, therefore their diet mainly includes berries, figs, and capsular fruit of a primary forest. During the breeding season, to get the proper nutrition they consume beetles, crabs, small rodents, lizards, frogs, rabbits, and insects.

The hornbill's main predator is the crowned eagle.

Are they poisonous?

No, the wreathed hornbill species are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though they are shy, peaceful, and docile, we do not recommend keeping them as pets as they are classified as Vulnerable species. They are best left in the wild or at a conservation zoo.

Did you know...

Their common names include Malayan wreathed hornbill, Northern waved hornbill, and plait-billed hornbill. They can go days without drinking water and survive off the water ingested from the fruits.

The first two vertebrae of hornbills are connected as one to support the weight of their large, heavy bill and casque.

These birds are often confused with closely related plain-pouched hornbills, but they can be recognized by the dark bar on the lower throat.

Hornbills are the only birds to have a two-lobed kidney, all other birds have three-lobed kidneys.

The over 60 species of hornbills are all mainly found in Asia or Africa.

Their feathers have great cultural significance in Bhutan.

How did the wreathed hornbill get its name?

The wreathed hornbill gets its name from the wreaths, or ridges you can see around the base of their bill, and since the casque on the beak is not horn-like but like a carved piece of wood with neat wreaths.

Are wreathed hornbills endangered?

The global population size of the wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) is unknown. However, the overall population trend of the species has decreased due to habitat loss. The species has been classified as Vulnerable to potential extinction. The ongoing habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, and hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these species.

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 hamerkop facts and reddish egret facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free and printable wreathed hornbill coloring pages.

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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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