Raid on the hornbill’s potential nesting cavity
For the months of February to May 2006 a pair of Great (Buceros bicronis) and Rhinoceros Hornbills (B. rhinoceros), both female, was regularly prospecting a potential nesting cavity in an old albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria) in Eng Neo. Whenever the birds were there the Great, acting in the role of a male, would fly to the cavity and deposit food, presumably figs, inside. This is typical hornbill courtship behaviour, to assure its partner that it would continue to feed her during her confinement within the cavity throughout incubation and nestling development.
It could be assumed that the cavity would be a storehouse of figs, as daily the Great would repeat this ritual. That this was so was confirmed by visits of other birds like Hill Mynas (Gracula religiosa) (above, left) and Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) (above, right) entering the cavity and helping themselves to the figs.
Image of Hill Myna by Chan Yoke Meng and of Great Hornbill and Javan Myna by YC.