The Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus)


I n many ways, the world is a much smaller place than it once was, as far as zoo aviculturists are concerned. Curators in the 1960s had access to seemingly endless quantities of birds from India, Thailand, Angola, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and other countries which now prohibit commercial export. Such species as quetzals, cocks-of-the-rock, umbrellabirds, bellbirds, mountain toucans, Rainbow Buntings, sylphs, sunangels, fishing owls, serpent eagles, and falconets, once widespread, are now seen in only one or two U.S. collections, or not at all.

On the other hand, there are many birds, undreamed of in American zoos in the 1960s and '70s now found in growing numbers of institutions. Some, such as the present assortment of fruit doves and bee-eaters are the results of improved understanding of husbandry. Politics has also played a role-the establishment of trade between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China has had a definite effect on zoo aviculture. Another factor has been an evolution within the foreign bird trade, an increased sophistication and broadening of scope among the dealers and collectors operating in the handful of countries yet allowing commercial export.

Nowhere has this been as apparent as in the Republic of Indonesia. During the 1960s and most of the 1970s, only a mall fraction of that country's incomparably diverse avifauna appeared on the market. The riches of Irian Jaya were largely restricted to species from the West Papuan Islands - primarily cassowaries, crowned pigeons, and occasional birds of paradise, all now prohibited, as well as various lories. Aside from lorikeets and cockatoos, practically nothing was seen from Sulawesi, And despite its close proximity Jo Java, the seat of Indonesian administrative offices, Sumatra was almost entirely unrepresented.

By the end of the 1980s things had changed dramatically. American Zoos held an array of taxa endemic to Mainland New Guinea and Sulawesi. Green-naped Pheasant Pigeons, Goldie's Lorikeets, Sulawesi Ground Doves, Red-knobbed Hombills, King Mynahs, and Grosbeak Starlings can be seen across the U.S., and all have been propagated. Sumatra is now likewise rather well represented. Its fauna is closely linked to the Asian mainland, and many of its birds are shared with the Malay Peninsula (from which commercial shipments have long been banned).

Among Sumatran birds acquired and bred by U.S. Zoos in the last decade have been Crestless Firebacked Pheasants, Pink-necked Fruit Doves, Rhinoceros Hornbills, Gaudy and Fire-tufted Barbets, Lesser Green Broadbills, and the distinctive redthroated subspecies of the Silver-eared Mesia. All of these had been previously scarce, or absent, in American aviculture for years.

Among these Sumatran importations was a large and spectacular bird which appears to have never been previously kept in North America. The Wrinkled Hornbill Aceros corrugatus was formerly found throughout the southern Malay Peninsula, and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. It appears to have disappeared from Singapore more than 50 years ago, is considered close to extinction in the small portion of Thailand from which it is known, and is rare in Peninsular Malaysia.

For the time being however, it remains "fairly common" in Borneo and Sumatra (Kemp, 1995). It is classified -as vulnerable by BirdLife International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Collar, et al, 1994). It is threatened chiefly by habitat destruction, as it is dependent on lowland tropical forests, which are of course being extensively logged through most of its range. It will breed in selectively logged forest (Kemp, 1995).

Prior to the Sumatran exports, the only captive record of which I am aware is for...



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Sigler, E.U., & M.S. Myers 0992) Breeding the Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) at the Audubon Park and Zoological Garden, International Zoo Yearbook. 31:147-153.

Summers, J, (1997) The partial hand-rearing of a Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) at Paultons Park Avicultural Magazine 103:163-169.

Wilkinson, R., W. McLeod, D. Langford & R. Merry (1996) Observations on the breeding of the Wrinkled Hornbill at Chester Zoo. Avicultural Magazine. 102:8-11.

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