Bushy-crested hornbill

A social bird, this species usually lives in groups of 2-20 individuals. The bushy-crested hornbill is often observed under the forest canopy.

The bushy-crested hornbill is protected under Regulation of Minister of Environment and Forestry No. 20 of 2018. IUCN and CITES list the species as Near Threatened and Appendix II.

Range & Habitat

This hornbill species usually lives in groups of 2 to 20 individuals. The bushy-crested hornbill is found throughout Southeast Asia in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, including Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands in tropical forests of the world.

Bushy-crested hornbills live in dense forests that provide them with their main source of food. Though rarely found in peat forests, they are even rarer in open forests such as coastal forest. They prefer natural cavities in Shorea spp. trees for nesting.


Bushy-crested hornbill measures 60-65 cm in length. Its beak is dark colored, wings and back black, while its tail is grayish dark brown, becoming increasingly black toward the tip. Belly grayish brown. This hornbill lacks feathers on their upper neck and around the eyes.

Male and female bushy-crested hornbill can be distinguished from the colors of their irises. Males have red iris while females have black irises. The bushy-crested hornbills are louder than any other hornbill species.


Bushy-crested hornbill’s diet comprises fruits such as figs (Ficus spp.) with high sugar content, as well as lipid-rich fruits from Meliaceae and Myristicaceae groups. Under certain conditions, the bushy-crested hornbill will eat animals like crickets, frogs, lizards, insects, and other preys.


The bushy-crested hornbill is a monogamous species that mates for life. In the breeding season, the male will deliver food to the female and their young in their nest. Breeding period lasts 90 days: 60 days to nest and produce 2-3 chicks and 30 days incubation period.

Because they live in groups, bushy-crested hornbills will divide the task of watching for, protecting and feeding the chick and female inside their nest. During the breeding season, the male will deliver food and 4-6 other individuals will assist him, even producing calls to protect the nest and territory.


The bushy-crested hornbill has lost 12% of their natural habitat in 2000-2012 although they are still able to adapt to changes in their habitat. If the degradation continues however, the next three generations may no longer have a natural habitat.

Did You Know?

Because of their small size, bushy-crested hornbills can nest in smaller trees. During abundant fruit season, they may form large groups which will dissolve into smaller groups when the forest fruit supply decreases and the groups form their own territories.