Injured silvery-cheeked hornbill gets new horn


Silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn, photo by Texel zoo

This photo by Texel zoo on Texel island in the Netherlands shows silvery-cheeked hornbill Balou with its new horn.

Dutch NOS radio reports about this today (translated):

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Balou in Texel Zoo has a 3D-printed horn on its beak. The animal was brought in by previous owners with a broken horn. They hoped that the animal park could mean something to the bird. The horn is made by Utrecht University.

According to Texel Zoo, the horn is important for a silvery-cheeked hornbill, because it protects against any head injuries. “He was very vulnerable,” said a spokesman. “Only a thin membrane still protected the veins. When he bumped, he started to bleed enormously.”

Utrecht University performed a CT scan on the bird to make the correct fit. “This was the first time here in the Netherlands, a horn will not break easily,” says a spokeswoman for Texel Zoo. According to her, information from abroad about the printing of beaks could be used to see how a horn could be made.

In December, the bird was successfully operated and then monitored. “We weren’t sure how it would react, if the horn would stay on and if there would be any complications. The horn has passed all the tests and the bird is behaving the same as before.”

It is not known how the horn on the beak of the animal broke.

Silvery-cheeked hornbills are from Africa.

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