Meet the Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis). The bird, which is part of the hornbill family, is native to the Indian subcontinent (Bhutan, India and Nepal) and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam). In Indonesia, it can only be found in Sumatra Island.

The Great Hornbill, which is known in Indonesia as the Rangkong Papan, measures 95 to 130cm in length and weighs two to four kilograms, making it a very large bird, and the heaviest Asian hornbill.

Most distinctively, the Great Hornbill bears a bright yellow and black casque on top of its massive, hooked yellow bill (beak). However, young birds have no casque, and a full development of the casque only takes place after five years.

Another distinctive feature of the Great Hornbill is its wing beats, which are heavy and can be heard from a distance – even more than half a mile away!

The Great Hornbill is a forest species, frequenting wet evergreen tropical forests, with a density of large trees required for nesting.

It feeds mainly on fruit, particularly figs, and is able to consume as many as 150 figs within one meal. The Great Hornbill has also been reported to visit nearby gardens to feed on papayas. However, it will also prey on small mammals and reptiles, birds as well as insects.

The Great Hornbill has never been seen drinking water, as it receives all the water it requires from the fruit it consumes.

Since 2004, the Great Hornbill has held a near threatened (NT) conservation status issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While NT species are only close to becoming threatened (Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered), the Great Hornbill is currently protected under Indonesian law.

The Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) team has recorded the Great Hornbill to be a resident species within the Kampar Peninsula, meaning it is a species that is present throughout the year, and breeds locally.

The bird has also been recorded as a common species in RER, meaning that it is present in relative abundance, and is typically seen or heard in the area.

The Great Hornbill is listed on Appendix I in CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species), an international agreement between countries which governs the international trade of wild animal and plant species.

CITES I species are those threatened with extinction, and trade of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

The Great Hornbill is one of the 299 species of birds included in a bird checklist which was last year published by the RER.

View the annotated checklist of bird species in RER here.