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A young hornbill with its casque/horn still not fully developed yet. It is from a flock of Rhinoceros Hornbills (around 20) of mixed sex and age group were looking for some ripe fruits on this Spiky Fig tree. Named the Rhinoceros Hornbill for it's large "horn" that points upwards like a rhinoceros. This is one of the largest hornbill species so it is large enough to swallow the spiky fig whole. However, these hornbills will carefully toss and mash the fruit until most of the hairy skins fall out and the remaining spikes are buried into the flesh and it would go smoother down the throat. Such precision control they have on their large beak.
Feeding on a spiky fig tree (Ficus cucurbitina) in a logged forest.
Epiphytic fig like this spiky fig depends on long-distance flying canopy birds like these hornbills to disperse its seeds onto another host tree far away. Wild figs are a very important food source to hornbills. This is recorded during our few days observation to document the ecological value of this fig species as an important species for our reforestation projects.