Rhinoplax vigil Forster, 1781, Sumatra. Monotypic. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Great-helmeted hornbill, solid-billed hornbill; French: Calao a casque rond; German: Schildschnabel; Spanish: Cálao de Yelmo.
43.3-47.3 in (110-120 cm); female 5.742-6.25 lb (2.61-2.84 kg), male 6.73 lb (3.06 kg). Very large, dark brown and white with short red bill colored with preen oil; high casque and long, white tail feathers.
South Myanmar and south Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo.
Rainforest bird preferring primary habitat below altitude of 4,900 ft (1,500 m) but capable of using selectively logged forest.
Believed to be territorial. Distinctive loud call has a series of orientation "Tok" followed by a cascading laughter. Individuals of either sex occasionally engage in strange, aerial head-butting behaviors, especially near fruiting figs.
Appears to be a fig specialist. Studies in Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra confirm the diet to be 98-100% figs with up to 12 species of figs eaten regularly.
Little known. Reported to lay aseasonally but in southern Sumatra tends to fledge young in May/June.
Considered Near Threatened and listed on Appendix I of CITES. Locally common where habitat is intact but probably declining through most of its range due to hunting and forest destruction. Extinct in Singapore in 1950.
One of the most significant species in traditional Southeast Asian cultures; strongly associated with head-hunting. Feathers and "ivory" are highly coveted for traditional dances and ceremonial decorations and although illegal, carved casques are still traded internationally. ♦
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