Overview

Brief Summary

Hornbills (Bucerotidae) are a family of about 55 large, charismatic bird species native to tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia, New Guinea, and nearby islands.  They are most closely related to the hoopoes and woodhoopoes (Hackett et al. 2008).  The name "hornbill" refers to the shape of the bill, which is long and down-curved like a cow's horn.  The bill frequently bears bright colors and has ridges or notches on the side. Some species have a large casque, or helmet-like structure, on the upper bill.  The first two neck vertebrae, the axis and the atlas, are fused. This condition is unique in birds and may provide more stable support for the large bill (Campbell and Lack 1985).

Despite the superficial resemblance, hornbills are not related to toucans although many are similar ecologically. Asian hornbills are primarily frugivorous and are important seed dispersers, while African hornbills are more carnivorous (Viseshakul et al. 2011).  Hornbills breed monogamously, sometimes with helpers, and nest in natural cavities in trees or cliffs. All hornbills except for those in the genus Bucorvus seal their nest holes. Females do the final sealing, which likely protects her and the chicks from predators (Campbell and Lack 1985). Several hornbill species are vulnerable or endangered due to deforestation and/or small ranges on islands (IUCN Redlist).

  • Campbell, B. and E. Lack. 1985. A dictionary of birds. Vermillion: Buteo Books.
  • Hackett, Shannon J, Rebecca T Kimball, Sushma Reddy, Rauri C K Bowie, Edward L Braun, Michael J Braun, Jena L Chojnowski, et al. 2008. “A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History.” Science 320 (5884): 1763–1768. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18583609.
  • IUCN 2012. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . Downloaded on 1 February 2013.
  • Viseshakul, N, W Charoennitikul, S Kitamura, A Kemp, S Thong-Aree, Y Surapunpitak, P Poonswad, and M Ponglikitmongkol. 2011. “A Phylogeny of Frugivorous Hornbills Linked to the Evolution of Indian Plants Within Asian Rainforests.” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24 (7): 1533–1545. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02285.x. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21545425.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Cyndy Parr

Supplier: Cyndy Parr

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:47
Specimens with Sequences:63
Specimens with Barcodes:28
Species:17
Species With Barcodes:12
Public Records:20
Public Species:10
Public BINs:8
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!