Helmeted Hornbill

Bird with red ivory

Helmeted Hornbill

Helmeted Hornbill is one of the most unusual hornbills, the only one with a solid casque. However, this is precisely the cause of its downfall. The Helmeted Hornbills have been hunted for their casques in Borneo and traded with China for over a thousand years but in the recent years, the species has come under new and unprecedented pressure from an exploding demand for casques which are in great demand as a material for carved jewelry and ornaments.

The bird is found in virgin lowland forest habitats in Brunei, Indonesia (Sumatra and Kalimantan), Malaysia, south Myanmar and south Thailand. It is a low-density species, even in prime habitat, where it plays an important ecological role in seed dispersal and tends to be absent in disturbed forests, peat swamps, and coastal forests. It has the most specialised diet of any hornbill and particular nest requirements.

The threats are daunting, being driven by such high profits, that it has been essential to move the species conservation up the political agenda, nationally and globally, and identify the needs for action. In November 2015, BirdLife uplisted the Helmeted Hornbill’s conservation status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered.

The 10-year, Range-wide Helmeted Hornbill Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2018 – 2027), outlines a bold, long-term vision: “to ensure that the Helmeted Hornbill thrives in ecologically functional populations across its natural range, valued by local and global stakeholder communities and effectively protected from threats related to poaching, trafficking and habitat loss.

For more information, please read https://www.birdlife.org/asia/projects/helmeted-hornbill
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