Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

Rhinoceros hornbill

Buceros rhinoceros sylvestris

IUCN status
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Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

« It moves by leaping from branch to branch »

What is the casque for?

An excellent question!

Though often confused with the toucan because of its gigantic beak, the rhinoceros hornbill can be distinguished by one notable feature: its casque. Located above the beak and resembling a horn, the hornbill’s casque varies in size and colour depending on the species. Its function has not yet been fully determined. In species with large casques, such as the rhinoceros hornbill, it is thought to act as a resonating chamber, amplifying the bird’s calls so that they carry further in the forest. It also seems that this appendage may be used to help search for food hidden deep in the dense vegetation and in territorial defence.

Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

Did you know?

Beauval Nature reports… from Borneo!

Our Beauval Nature association is actively involved in a conservation programme that is conducted in collaboration with the Hutan association! The objective of this programme is to save endangered species in Borneo such as orangutans, Asian elephants… and rhinoceros hornbills.

Beauval Nature builds artificial nests for hornbills in Borneo

Hornbills rely on large trees as they build their nests in the hollows of such trees. The conversion of forests to palm groves for palm oil production therefore decreases the number of available nesting sites.

In collaboration with the HUTAN association, the Beauval Nature association supports a project to protect hornbills in Borneo. The project’s objectives are to study the quality of the habitat; to identify areas that are conducive to foraging and reproduction; and to install artificial nests to encourage hornbill reproduction.

Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval

Beauval’s rhinoceros hornbills

The pair of rhinoceros hornbills that are located near the entrance to the Bird Tropical Greenhouse love the rain! 

As soon as a couple of drops fall from the clouds, they will both start jumping and whirling around in their space, as if celebrating this water from the heavens.

Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Rhinoceros hornbill - Animals of the ZooParc de Beauval
Beauval Nature

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Learn more about the species

  • Diet
  • Incubation
    37 to 46 days
  • Clutch size
    1 to 2 eggs
  • Habitat
    Tropical forests

Eye to eye

The rhinoceros hornbill exhibits sexual dimorphism, meaning a physical difference between the male and female. If you ever come face to face with the ZooParc’s hornbills and want to know which is which, simply look them in the eye! The male has a red iris with a black circle around it, whereas the female has a white iris with a bright pink-red circle around it.

A bird with a spring in its step!

Though the hornbill has large wings, it does not use them very often. This bird lives in the canopy of the jungle where the branches and foliage are very dense. It therefore has very little room to fly. Most of the time, it moves by leaping from branch to branch or by soaring for short distances. Its wings are mainly used to cushion its landings when jumping and to help it direct itself.

Fort-Knox-like incubation

To avoid exposing its eggs to predators, the hornbill has developed an ingenious nesting technique. During the rainy season, between November and March, the hornbill uses damp earth to finish its nest. The female clambers into the cavity of a tree trunk and the male then helps her to plug up the opening to protect her and her eggs. They leave a small hole through which the male can pass food for the newly hatched chicks. After hatching from their shells, the chicks then remain within the shelter of this enclosed nest for two months, alongside their mother.

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Other species in the territory

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