Hmph… I’m not talking to you.

Hmph… I’m not talking to you.

When you’re mated for life, a tiff now and then is part of life for the Malabar Pied Hornbill!

If you’re out bird watching and you hear the most ridiculous clucking and braying noise from up in the trees, fear not, it’s not a donkey-chicken-hybrid alien invasion from Mars, it’s just a couple of Malabar Pied Hornbills singing a loving duet to each other… or having an argument; sometimes it’s a little hard to tell. With a striking yellow bill and black & white plumage, this bird is easy to spot during the day and as well as at dusk, thanks to the casque on top of their huge bills presenting an unmissable silhouette, somewhat like the alien hunter in the Predator movie franchise! Fortunately, avid bird watchers don’t have to leave the comfort of their surroundings at the Big Game Camp in Kumana to spot a pair of these beautiful Hornbills, as they’re quite plentiful in the area.

Fun facts

Mated for life, Malabar Pied Hornbills are extremely devoted parents. The mama bird lays her eggs in a tree hole and sheds all her feathers on them to keep them warm. She also blocks off the entrance to keep the warmth in and unwanted visitors out. A small opening allows dad to drop off food at regular intervals and everything stays this way for over a month until the little brood has hatched and is ready to meet the world.

Story of the Photo

This momentary disagreement between the couple was caught on camera by the ever vigilant Hasitha in Kumana National Park, in February 2020.

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