Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis
Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bhutan, March 2008 - click for larger image Bhutan
April 2008

The Rufous-necked Hornbill is distributed in Bhutan, north-east India, Myanmar, southern Yunnan and south-east Tibet, China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Historically it was much more widespread but loss of habitat and hunting for food has caused a dramatic decline in recent years and it is now classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife International.

It is found in tall, broadleaved forest where it feeds on fruits such as figs and mangoes. It requires tall, mature trees for feeding and for nesting when the female seals herself into a hole in a tree using droppings and food scraps. She remains in this nest for about 3 months and only emerges when the chick fledges.

Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bhutan, March 2008 - click for larger image It is a large hornbill with a huge bill. The male has a rufous head, neck and underparts, black back and black wings with broad white tips and a black and white tail. The eye is red and the orbital skin is blue. It also has a red gular pouch. My companions, Will and Gill Carter, watched the bird in photo 1 for some time. It was feeding on the avocado-looking fruits you can see in that photo and seemed to store the fruit in its gular pouch before regurgitating it and then spitting out the stone.
Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bhutan, March 2008 - click for larger image The female, seen here in photos 3 and 4 is slightly smaller and has black replacing the rufous.

I think that the bird in photo 6 is a young male. The black stripes on its bill are fewer and broader, the bill looks shorter and the gular pouch looks less well-developed.
Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bhutan, March 2008 - click for larger image
Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bhutan, March 2008 - click for larger image
Rufous-necked Hornbill, Bhutan, March 2008 - click for larger image
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