Hornbills, forty years of love


This video is called AMOROUS GREAT HORNBILLS.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Wednesday 17 Jul 2013, 21:09

Tomorrow, bird zoo Avifauna in Alphen aan den Rijn will celebrate the 40-year marriage of a great hornbill couple. The couple arrived in 1973 in the bird park and they have since been inseparable. According to Avifauna it is unique that two animals live together in a zoo for so long.

In those 40 years, the colorful couple had twelve offspring. They have been important in the international breeding program, Avifauna says. In recent years, they are still courting, but they don’t have chicks any more.

Vital interest

Avifauna explains that a good marriage is vital for hornbills, because during the breeding season the female depends on the male. The nest is in a hollow tree and its entry is almost completely bricked. The female is then locked in for about 3 months in the nest while the male gives her food.

To celebrate the anniversary the birds will get gifts on their ‘wedding day’, including a fruit garland and a basket full of maggots.

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10 thoughts on “Hornbills, forty years of love

  1. Once in the Taita Hills, a boy showed me a hornbill’s nest. He held up a moth to a crack in a tree so I would be able to see the female bird inside as she moved towards the sliver of light. There she was, sitting so patiently for the duration. After that, I’d watch the male bird coming to feed her. Something I’ve never forgotten.

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