Sulu hornbill

What does “rare” mean to you? For them, it’s a countdown starting from 27

Taylor and Francis, 1882 – Biodiversity Heritage Library

With just 27 mature individuals, as of 2019, we might be on the brink of shoving another enchanting bird species up the brim of extinction. Yes, you read that number right! Stats can be horrifying at times. Sulu Hornbill’s presence is restricted to the moist rainforests of the Sulu archipelago; plus, its population suffers significantly at the hands of habitat loss and hunting (as seen in the Jolo islands, which the bird previously inhabited).

Their bodies are primarily black, with a hint of white near the tail. Yet, even with that basic appearance, Sulu Hornbills stand out through their thick bills and the nasal cackling in their voice. Now, it would take years to grow a healthy population back from those plummeting numbers aforementioned. Still, it’s far better than leaving that female Sulu waiting in her nest with the offspring to be greeted by her food-bringing mate never again. I prefer to hang on to that string of optimism.


Population est.
Official estimate

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No