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Featured video: baby hornbills grow up in a jar

A researcher in Malaysia has captured footage of Oriental pied hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) raising chicks in an earthen jar in the Kenyir rainforest of Malaysia. The first video shows the father Oriental pied hornbill feeding the chicks, while the second shows a chick leaving its nest.

“Besides a mixture of fruit, we have seen bats, brought almost daily, frogs, eggs, a variety of insects, and even a clump of dry dirt that was broken up by the female,” explains Anuar McAfee in a blog post on the videos. “The jar has been used as a nest for the past 10 years. The jar is located near an abandoned village house near Kuala Terengganu. The owners of the house passed away in 2009, but their son visits the orchards around the house regularly. He estimated the hornbills began nesting in early March 2012. I visited the nest site late February, 2012, and it was empty. With a nesting cycle of between 79-89 days, we can expect the young bird inside to fledge later this month.”

The second video documents one of the fledglings doing just that. McAfee documented that the female left the nestlings, while the male still brought food, though less frequently. Over the course of a few days, one-by-one the fledglings left the nest for good to make their own way in the wild.

The Oriental pied hornbill is found throughout central and southeast Asia. It is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List and is thought to be the most common hornbill in Asia.

These videos come from Rimba, a non-profit group of biologists working in Malaysia.

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