Hornbill Nest Project (Thailand)

The Oakland Zoo participates in the Hornbill Nest Adoption Project through Thailand's Hornbill Research Foundation, which is led by Dr. Pilai Poonswand. Funding sent to this project helps the foundation collect data on the biological and ecological aspects of these birds, including their important ecological role in dispersing seeds throughout the forest. It is said that the forests need the hornbill as much as the hornbills need the forests!

Hornbills range from 15 inches to 4 feet in length with large, brightly-colored, elaborately structured bills. These birds are distributed throughout the Old World tropics with 25 species occurring in Africa and 20 in Asia. Most hornbills consume fruit when it is available but otherwise will eat almost any animal they can overpower. A fascinating nesting technique, whereby the female is walled-up inside a hollow tree cavity by the male, who uses feces, food particles, and mud is unique to the hornbill. The large ground hornbill is the only species that does not utilize tree cavities for nesting.

The Hornbill Nest Adoption Project, founded in 1998 in Budo-Sangai National Park, pays the local rural communities to watch over the nests of hornbills. This provides a financial incentive for protecting the hornbills and also instills a spirit of stewardship for the forest and its wildlife. This is a win-win situation, providing income to the community, protecting the hornbills, and aiding researchers in collecting valuable data about the species. For more information visit: http://www.zoo.org/conservation/PFW/hornbill-research.

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