Knobbed Hornbill Rhyticeros cassidix

Knobbed Hornbill Rhyticeros cassidix

Knobbed Hornbill Rhyticeros cassidix

Sulawesi, Indonesia


Recent analysis has suggested that the Knobbed Hornbill may be declining at a rate approaching 40% over three generations based on recent and ongoing rates of habitat loss on Sulawesi (D. Holmes in litt. 1999, Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007).

IUCN red list

Knobbed Hornbills are stunning rainbow coloured birds endemic to #Sulawesi #Indonesia, #vulnerable from #palmoil #deforestation and #hunting. Help them survive by joining the #Boycott4Wildlife on brands causing #deforestation!

The Knobbed Hornbill is spectacular and unique tropical bird endemic to Sulawesi and offshore islands of Lembeh, Togian Islands, Muna and Butung in Indonesia. Recent analysis has suggested that this species may be declining at a rate approaching 40% over three generations based on recent and ongoing rates of habitat loss on Sulawesi (D. Holmes in litt. 1999, Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007).

They are one of the largest birds in Indonesia and the most vividly coloured. With their large body size they are able to chase off other birds and small primates at feeding sites. The flapping of their wings generates a loud and distinctive sound.

There are 62 species of hornbills spread across Africa, tropical Asia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Endemic to Indonesia: Knobbed hornbill (Rhyticeros cassidix), Sulawesi hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus exarhatus), and julang sumba Sumba hornbill (Rhyticeros everetti).

The Knobbed Hornbill inhabits evergreen forest up to 1,800 m asl, especially in lowlands below 1,100 m where they also live in patches of secondary forest, woodland and plantations to forage. Mostly they eat fruit but occasionally insects, bird eggs and nestlings. They forage mainly in the canopy, even plucking off fruits in flight and dig into soft wood on trees for insects. In Gorontalo, Sulawesi, the species has been observed foraging in primary and abandoned selectively logged forest, including those in fairly close proximity to human settlements (D. Mulyawati in litt. 2010). They require large trees for breeding, nesting in natural holes 13-53 m up in tall forests trees (Kinnaird and O’Brien 1999, del Hoyo et al. 2001, F. Lambert in litt. 2011).

The species is threatened with habitat destruction, with forest on Sulawesi being lost at a rate of 16.9% per ten years during 1985-1997; and 36.1% per ten years during 1997-2001 (based on D. Holmes in litt. 1999 and Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007). The species’s specialised breeding requirements (including dependence on large trees) makes them particularly vulnerable to forest loss and degradation (e.g. Winarni and Jones 2012). Hunting is a serious threat, as well as gold mining and fires (following exceptional fires in 1997, fieldwork showed a significant drop in breeding success and population recruitment in subsequent years) (del Hoyo et al. 2001)

You can support this beautiful animal

There are no known conservation activities for this animal. Make art to raise awareness and join the #Boycott4Wildlife.

Further Information

IUCN Rating vulnerable

BirdLife International. 2017. Rhyticeros cassidix (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22682525A117182222. Downloaded on 08 June 2021.

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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