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Papuan Hornbill

Papuan Hornbill
Photo Information
Copyright: Thijs van Balen jr (Pentaxfriend) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 514 W: 24 N: 1888] (8048)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05-18
Categories: Birds
Camera: Pentax K20D, Pentax fa*4,5 300mm if ed, Digital ISO 200, 67mm Hoya HMC
Exposure: f/8, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-08-28 9:39
Viewed: 3947
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Bucerotiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Genus: Rhyticeros
Species: R. plicatus
Binomial name: Rhyticeros plicatus (Forster, 1781)

The Papuan Hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus) is also known as Blyth's Hornbill. Its local name in Tok Pisin is kokomo. It is a large hornbill species inhabiting the forest canopy in the Wallacea and Melanesia.

Previously, this hornbill was placed in the genus Aceros. It has in the past been often lumped with the Plain-pouched Hornbill (R. subruficollis), and sometimes considered to include the Narcondam Hornbill (R. narcondami) and the Wreathed Hornbill (R. undulatus) as subspecies.

Up to 91 cm in length, the adult male has a mainly black plumage with a golden or orange-buff coloured head, white throat and a white tail. Its irides are reddish brown, surrounded by naked pale blue skin around the eye. The female is a smaller predominantly black bird with a white throat and tail. Both sexes have a very large, horn-coloured, bill and casque. Both sexes of young birds resemble the male. Adults have up to eight folds on the pale casque, depending on age, while young birds have none.

In flight the sound of its wings is loud and distinctive, a rushing noise that has been compared to the sound of steam escaping from a steam locomotive. As well as the noise produced by its wings, the Papuan Hornbill has a range of far-reaching, guttural grunting and laughing calls.

Various subspecies have been described across its range:

R. p. plicatus (Forster, 1781) – South Moluccas
R. p. ruficollis (Vieillot, 1816) – North Moluccas and West Papua, eastwards to the Southern Highlands and Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea
R. p. jungei Mayr, 1937 – Eastern New Guinea, west as far as the Fly River region
R. p. dampieri Mayr, 1934 – Bismarck Archipelago
R. p. harterti Mayr, 1934 – Bougainville and Buka Islands
R. p. mendanae Hartert, 1924 – Solomon Islands from Choiseul to Guadalcanal and Malaita

Distribution and ecology
The Papuan Hornbill occurs throughout lowland forests, from sea level up to 1,200-1,500 m ASL, in the Moluccas, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and as far east as the Solomon Islands. It is the only hornbill species native to New Guinea, and one of the largest flying birds of the region.

Its diet consists mainly of fruits – especially figs (Ficus) –, occasionally supplemented with insects and other small animals.

The Papuan Hornbill nests in a large rainforest tree hollow from 18 m to at least 30 m above the ground. The female is restricted to the nest cavity throughout the incubation and nestling period, being largely sealed within with the entrance plastered up by a mixture of fruit pulp and rotten wood, leaving only a narrow aperture through which she is fed by the male. The clutch size is about two eggs.

Status and relationship with humans
Still widespread throughout its large habitat range, the Papuan Hornbill is evaluated as a Species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

However, it is subject to hunting pressure by some tribal groups, with its feathers used in headdresses, its bill being valued as a personal adornment, and the lower mandible used as a spear point. As a consequence, it is becoming rarer in some areas of New Guinea. On the other hand, this species has withstood tens of millennia of human hunting pressure, so as long as sufficient habitat is preserved, it is unlikely that hunting alone is a significant threat.

anemone, shabsslg, marius-secan, marhowie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To coasties: ZooPentaxfriend 1 08-29 15:11
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Critiques [Translate]

woww.. what a lovely bird and ist expertly taken portrait here.
Simply awesome!
TFS and kind regards,

Hi Thijs,

An awe inspiring portrait of a horn bill. Nice colours and clarity!


  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2010-08-28 10:23]

Dag Thijs,

Mooie plaat zo tegen die blauwe lucht aan.Goede scherpte en mooie kleuren.


Gorgeous bird, excellent detail and exposure, well executed shot!


hallo Thijs
ZO die staat er goed op
Wat een mooie scherpte en de kleuren zijn super
de details en achtergrond zijn erg goed
ik vindt het een superplaatje
groetjes lou

Hello Thijs,
Oustanding portrait with exceptional colours and details.
Perfect focus and lovely capture.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-08-28 15:31]

Hi Thijs....impossible to comment a perfection like that....just my greats greats compliments for this fantastic portrait! Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Very nice Thijs, good choice on the 2:1 comp...
What can ya do with snozzola like that anyway ;-}
The BG works well, great detail, color, and DOF.
Have a good weekend!

Hi Thijs

It has been a while since I have been on Treknature and what a treat this shot is to see on my return! It has absolute 'wow' factor! I this in the wild or at a zoo/birdpark? I am visiting Rotterdam in May 2011 and would love to photograph one of these birds!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-08-29 1:04]

Hallo Thijs,
Schitterend portret van deze neushoornvogel. Mooier was misschien nog geweest wanneer je er nog wat rechter voor had gestaan, maar dan had je waarschijnlijk niet de fantastische blauwe achtergrond gekregen. Super foto in alle aspecten.

  • Great 
  • GaryT Gold Star Critiquer [C: 102 W: 7 N: 236] (160)
  • [2010-08-29 8:01]

Quite a portrait! Gary

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