The Palawan hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei), is locally called a kalaw. It’s a medium-sized hornbill thats black all over except for the white tail. Males are larger and have reddish-brown eyes, while females are smaller and have dark gray-brown eyes. The Palawan hornbill is a noisy bird that can be found in all forest storeys, secondary growth, mangroves, cultivated land, and bushlands close to forests. It is a Palawan endemic, found only in mainland Palawan, the Calamian island group, and the Balabac island group. If youre staying in Lagen Island Resort, the Palawan hornbills loud calls will serve as your own personal wakeup call as this bird begins its day at first light.
Palawan hornbills mainly eat fruit, but insects and lizards are also sometimes eaten. Pairs live in large tree holes well above the forest floor. During breeding season, the male locks the female inside the tree hole by blocking the entrance with feces and mud, leaving only a small opening for the females beak. During this time, the female is fully dependent on the male to feed her while she sits on the eggs full-time.
Sadly, the Palawan hornbill is now classified as vulnerable its numbers are decreasing because of logging and forest clearing, hunting for food and sport, and trapping for the pet trade. Hornbills are particularly affected during breeding season as capturing the males and cutting down large trees kills the females and chicks trapped inside tree holes.
Despite this alarming trend, there is still hope. We can all help in saving the Palawan hornbill in our own way. Don’t buy souvenirs such as hornbill feathers. Report pet shops that sell these birds. It’s when we work together that we achieve something great.
Hornbill footage shot in Lagen Island Resort, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Lagen Island Resort Environmental Officer
El Nido Resorts
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines