Programmes

Oriental Pied Hornbill

 
Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris (Shaw & Nodder, 1807)
Order: Bucerotiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
CITES: Appendix II
State Key Protected Animal List of China: Class II

 

About the Species

The Oriental Pied Hornbill is widely distributed in Asia, from northern India to the Greater Sunda Islands. In China, it occurs only in southeast Tibet, south Yunnan and southwest Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. A large bird, up to 75 cm in total length, it is called “aeroplane bird” by the Zhuang-minority people of Guangxi Province, because of its flight form and the sound produced by the wingbeat. It is a forest-dependent species, and big hollow trees are normally essential for its unique reproduction behaviour, in which the female is imprisoned in a tree hole hatching the eggs. During this time the mother bird depends solely on the father to look after her. Individuals in karst regions sometimes nest in limestone holes instead. Most of the diet is fruit, with small vertebrates and invertebrates. It is an important disperser for large-fruited trees, since it is the only disperser in the forest with a gape large enough to ingest the seeds. Therefore it has a special role in the integrity of tropical forest in South China. 

Its range and population size have declined sharply in South China in past decades. Hornbills are vulnerable to habitat destruction, logging and also poaching, because of their large body-size and unique nesting habits. The largest Chinese population survives in Xidamingshan, Guangxi, where fewer than 100 remain.

Conservation Action

Kadoorie Conservation China (KCC), a Department of KFBG, initiated the Guangxi Hornbill Conservation Project in Xidamingshan Nature Reserve in Guangxi in 2009. A simultaneous hornbill survey, the first ever in China, was conducted in the same year, to collect population and distribution data for conservation action planning. In March 2011 KCC and the Wildlife Conservation Association of Guangxi hosted the first workshop on the conservation and study of hornbills in China. More than 30 international and Chinese delegates took part, and formulated an action plan to conserve these amazing tropical birds in China.

Studies on the ecology of hornbills in Xidamingshan have also been conducted. In order to spread hornbill conservation messages to surrounding communities, school and community outreach activities have been conducted since the onset of the project, with the assistance of enthusiastic volunteers from Nanning.