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Helmeted hornbill

Helmeted hornbill
Photo Information
Copyright: Ralf Lukovic (ralfsworld) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 492 W: 93 N: 1903] (6560)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-07-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 100-400L 4.5-5.6 IS USM, CF Extrime IV 8 GB
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-11-04 5:45
Viewed: 6711
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Today's post is really rare bird from Taman's Negara area located on Malayan's peninsula. I couldn't find any of them here on TN so I guess that this is the first one.

This is the story how I found this one...
We had a trip with small wooden boat on Tembling River on exploring the rain forest. During the trip we saw few kingfisher's on long distance and when we tried to com closer they just fly a way. I was little bit disappointed but it was nothing to do about that. I couldn't take on this little boat my big lens and I only had my 100-400. Trees in rain forest are really high and 400 mm was not enough to get some good shot. So if you photograph some bird up in the trees they looks like dot on FF which doesn't give you so much details. Guide said that sometimes they see hornbill's flying between trees. It is many different kind of hornbill's and sometimes if you have luck you can see rare Helmeted hornbill. Five minutes later... suddenly we saw big bird crossing the sky! I had few seconds to take shot from moving little boat and I menage to take only one shot. When I checked on camera display to see what bird that was and showed to guide he said to me, man you have rare bird which is almost impossible to see in the wild... It was really cool experience to see this big bird crossing the sky. It was like seeing flying dragon on the sky :)

Hope you like it :)

Captured with 1D Mark III @ 400mm, handhold from boat in movement, on really long distance!

The Helmeted Hornbill, Rhinoplax vigil, is a very large bird in the hornbill family. It is found in the Malay peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo.

It has mostly blackish plumage except that the belly and legs are white and the tail is white with each feather having a black band near the tip. The tail is long and the two central tail feathers are much longer than the others, up to 1 m, giving the bird a length up to 160 cm, the longest among hornbills. The body length is 95-120 cm (38-47 in). Males weigh 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs) and females weigh about 2.7 kg (5.9 lbs).

This species has a bare, wrinkled throat patch, blue in females and red in males. The casque goes from the base of the bill halfway to the tip, where it ends abruptly. It and the bill are yellow; the red secretion of the preen gland covers the sides and top of the casque and the base of the bill, but often leaves the front end of the casque and the distal half of the bill yellow. Unlike other hornbills, the Helmeted Hornbill's casque is solid, and the skull including the casque and bill may constitute 10 percent of the bird's weight.

The call is described as hoots followed by maniacal laughter.

This bird eats mostly fruit, especially figs. It may also use the casque as a weighted tool to dig into rotten wood and loose bark in search of insects and similar prey. Unlike many fruit-eating hornbills, it is sedentary and pairs maintain a territory. Males fight over territory on the wing, ramming each other with their casques.

The casque is the source of a valuable carving material, hornbill ivory. Indigenous peoples also use the central tail feathers to decorate dancing cloaks and head-dresses.

The Punan people believe that a large Helmeted Hornbill guards the river between life and death.[1]

As it is hunted in some areas and losing habitat, the Helmeted Hornbill is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix I of CITES.

info from wiki

MMM, Argus, pvs, uleko, marhowie, Rolf, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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To marhowie: Thanks manralfsworld 1 11-07 07:40
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-11-04 6:51]

Hi Ralf
Excellent in flight capture of a specie I had never seen before.Detail from the plumage is excellent.You did an excellent job with the 100-400 mm , I find that lens to be very practical.Your text is also excellent.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-11-04 7:53]

Hej Ralf,
Congratulations on this fine in-flight capture of a rare species of hornbill and a first for TN!
Excellent technical quality and good timing. You were lucky to catch this in an open area of the forest.
TFS this beauty,

Det ligger ett molnlock över Åhus så att ljuset är inget vidare!

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-11-04 11:02]

Hi Ralf,

A nice inflight capture of this new TN specimen,a pity he did not fly in the opposite direction,I have seen lots of hornbills during my last trip to krugerpark,but no inflight shots for me,thanks


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-11-04 12:42]

Hello Ralf,
We dreamt about visiting Taman Negara some years back but it never materialized! :-( It must have been a great experience! You were lucky to get such a fine capture of this rare Helmeted Hornbill in flight! Well done! Interesting note too!
TFS and cheers, Ulla

  • Great 
  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2008-11-05 4:31]

Hi Ralf
very nice composition
very good sharp
well done.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-11-06 8:26]

Hello Ralf, that's a very good flying bird shot! Sharp image, good exposure and well composed. Well done!


Hi Ralf,
Under the circumstances you've done a great job IMO.
Congratulations on this rare catch :)

  • Great 
  • joepan (82)
  • [2008-11-15 8:01]

Hi Ralf, Congrats on catching a rare and endangered bird! The Helmeted is a very large bird which we here in Borneo seldom get to see in the wild even when we go into the jungle to search for it.
Cheers, and best wishes from Sabah.

  • Great 
  • Rolf Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 58 W: 0 N: 27] (196)
  • [2008-11-26 7:47]

Hi Ralf
Excellent in flight capture!

Hello Ralf

WOW ! great in-flight photo of this exotic bird,
fine POV, superbly focused with great sharpness
and details of its plumage, TFS


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