Asian black hornbills are medium-sized hornbills found primarily in lowland and swampland forests over Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Hornbills are named for their horn shaped beaks often topped by a large hollow chamber called a casque. Made of keratin, casques are thought to serve as a resonating chamber to amplify the harsh braying calls. Hornbills are the only birds known with their first two cervical vertebrae fused, which most likely helps support their top-heavy beaks. They also have very unusual nesting habits. A pair selects a tree hollow with a narrow opening, lines it with grass and feathers, and partially seals the opening with droppings, mud and fruit pulp. When ready to lay her eggs, the female enters the hollow and seals herself inside, leaving only a very narrow slit for the male to pass her food. This makes an effective barrier against predators. She spends the next 4 months sealed in this chamber, being fed by her mate while incubating and caring for their eggs and fledglings. 2-part skull (separate cranium & jaw).
8 ½" L x 2" W x 3 ½" H 21.6L x 5.2W x 9.2H (cm