The Eight Hornbills of Borneo

Hornbills of Borneo

On a recent trip to Borneo (Malaysian state of Sabah) I encountered all eight species of hornbill known to occur on this, the world’s third largest island. These magnificent, long-lived birds depend upon mature rainforest and the populations of almost all species have declined dramatically in recent decades as forests have been logged or cleared.

In this illustration (part of a project for Borneo Eco Tours) I have depicted the males of each species. From top to bottom, and from left to right, they are: Rhinoceros Hornbill, Helmeted Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, White-crowned Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Asian Black Hornbill and Bushy-crested Hornbill.

While the Oriental Pied Hornbill and Asian Black Hornbill are able to survive in modified habitats, all of the others require primary (or recovering secondary) forest. Prime hornbill viewing localities in Sabah are Sepilok, Tabin, Danum Valley, Tawau Hills and – especially – the Kinabatangan River where birds feed in riverside fig trees and flap-glide across the broad, greasy-green river. Plan a trip to see these marvelous birds with Borneo Eco Tours –

for more information on hornbill conservation in south-east Asia:


About Duncan Butchart

Duncan Butchart is interested in all aspects of the natural world, with a particular fascination for birds and their ecological relationships.
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One Response to The Eight Hornbills of Borneo

  1. KAte BArnett says:

    Dear Duncan
    Thank you for notifying me of your blog. I have enjoyed reading it all so far and your watercolours are fabulous. I look forward to future blogs.

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