Red-whiskered Bulbul: 4. Did a hornbill raid the nest?

An earlier post described the nesting tree of the Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) being normal until a strange series of loud calls were heard LINK. Subsequently the bulbuls deserted the nest. On examining the nest the following morning it was found empty with no trace of feathers, etc.

The account was also posted in the Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia’s Facebook LINK. This attracted the attention of Jaz Xang who suggested that it could be a hornbill’s call.

These calls can be heard at 1:40 minutes location of the video below

Compare the calls with those recorded HERE. They definitely resemble those of the Oriental Pied Hornbill.

So an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) most probably raided the nest and robbed it of the chick. But what is strange was that the bulbuls failed to make any distress calls and the hornbill, large as it is, did not cause the branches and leaves where the nest was lodged to rustle. After all, the scene was video recorded and there were no signs of physical disturbances.

The Oriental Pied Hornbill has a reputation for raiding bird nests for the eggs and chicks LINK (above). Its population has been increasing during the last few years with the placing of nesting boxes in many locations on the main island of Singapore LINK.

This hornbill has already invaded urban gardens to feed on fruit like rambutan, papaya, guava, etc. Now this may be the first reported example of the hornbill raiding the nest of other birds in an urban area.

It may thus be time that we take a closer look at how many Oriental Pied Hornbills can Singapore support… LINK.

Credit: YC Wee (text), Johnny Wee (image of Oriental Pied Hornbill) & Jaz Xang (ID of call).

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