Rhinoceros Hornbill

Rhinoceros Hornbill     Buceros rhinoceros

Type of Animal:

Tropical forest

Borneo, Sumatra, S. Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Java, & Singapore

Black w/ white tail feathers consisting of black band in middle, male has more pronounced red casque on head & is larger than female. Both sexes have white beak/white underparts. Male has orange/red eyes, female has whitish eyes. One of the largest Asian hornbill species.

Fruit, nuts, insects, small birds, rodents, veggies, turtle/tortoise hatchlings, lizards, small snakes, frogs, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, poultry chicks, newborn pythons, crocodilian hatchlings

Status in Wild:

Breeding from zoos & private breeders

Monogamous pairs, though flocks of 12-15 sometimes seen outside of breeding/nesting season

Additional Info:


Male-6 lbs
Female-5 lbs
Young-1.3 lbs

1.5-2 months

Male-3 ft
Female-2.6 ft

Body Length:
Male-4 ft
Female-3.5 ft

Life Span: 
30 years in wild, up to 50 years in captivity

Tail Length:
0.58 ft

Main predators of adults are large pythons, tigers, leopards, dholes, large raptors, & clouded leopards. Smaller raptors, snakes, sun bears, primates, smaller felids, & civets eat chicks.

Sexually mature at 4-5 years.

Declining due to hunting for feathers/meat, logging, habitat loss, & bird trade.

They’re very loud & more often heard than seen.

Due to frugivorous habits, they’re very important seed dispersers.

They love to bask in the sun.

Fighting highly ritualized almost always only involving casque jousting.

Casque takes 4-6 years to develop.

While casque looks heavy, it is actually quite light & hollow.

Fun Fact(s):
State emblem of Malaysian state of Sarawak due to Iban people viewing it as messenger of Gods .

For Dayak people, it represents the war god Singalang Burong.

Like all arboreal hornbills, female nests in tree cavity w/ wall made of mud, fruit pulp & poop. Hole big enough for female to fit into & once she’s in she walls herself up for 3 months, leaving narrow opening for male to feed her & brood. Male defends territory. While walled up, female undergoes complete molt. When chicks & mom too big, mom breaks out w/ both parents feeding chicks.

Males become more aggressive during breeding/nesting season, even attacking humans that venture too close.

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