First Captive Breeding of the Black Hornbill at Jurong Birdpark


General Description

The Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros m, malayanus) is distributed throughout most of southeast Asia, from Sumatra east to Borneo and north to Southern Peninsular Thailand. They are found in low land areas stretching up to an altitude of 4,000 feet.

In most hornbill species, sexes can be differentiated by the size of bill and casque: some by the color of the iris.

The general plumage of the adult male is glossy black with a blue green sheen. The color of the eyes is brown


and sometimes there can also be a white or grayish streak above the eye. The outer four rerniges at the tail are broadly tipped with white. The color of the bare skin around the eye is bluish black with a patch of yellow beneath. The casque is high and projects forward. Seen from the side, the outline of the casque is convex. The bill and casque are white in color.

The general plumage of the adult female is similar to the male except for some features. The color of the eyes is orange and the color of the bare skin


around the eye including the patch beneath the eye is pinkish. The casque is much smaller and has a nearly straight frontal edge. Both the bill and casque are blackish in color.

History of Birds

Six Black Hornbills (two male and four female) were introduced to one aviary of the Exhibit onIuly 25, 1990.

On November 29, 1990, one male was found dead (attacked by the dominant male).

On November 7, 1990, one female was transferred to the sick bay (weak).

On November 5, 1991, two females were transferred to the transit aviary because the pair was showing signs of aggression.

One pair was left (the breeding pair).



There are 21 compartments in the hornbill exhibit. Arranged in two rows, comprising of nine compartments in the front row and 10 compartrnents at the rear with two smaller 

compartments sited apart. The Black Hornbill is housed on the left most compartment of the row at the rear. The dimensions are 6m x 12m x lOm (20' x 40' x33'). The right side of the aviary is covered with a green screen to preclude the birds from seeing the neighboring birds (visual isolation), due to their aggressive behavior. A pond is provided in the aviary for drinking and bathing purposes.

Aviary Vegetation

Both sides of the aviary are planted with Fish-tail Palm (Caryota mitis) and MacArthur Palm (Ptycosprema macartburi) to cover the green screen. Old World Heliconias are planted near the pond area and an Indian Coral Tree (Erytbrina glauca) at the center of the aviary provides good shade for these Hornbills.

Normal Diet

Mixed fruits (diced bananas and papaya)- 700g/once a day

Bread mixed with minced meat and hard boiled eggs - lOOg/once a day Crickets - 20/twice a week Mealworms - 40g/twice a week.