Helmeted Hornbill of Borneo

Hornbill, has such a name as it has a horn. Hornbill or Rangkong is included in protected species in Indonesia, in the past the bird has strong relationship with dayaknese in Borneo, this bird is signs of human proximity to their environment.

Know the Hornbill / Bird Rangkong

Hornbill is a bird group consisting of 57 species spread across Africa and Asia. Indonesia has 14 species of them, of the 14 species, the largest and special type of hornbill comes from West Kalimantan, often known as the Enggang Gading (Helmeted Hornbill).

The distinctive features of the Helmeted hornbill can be seen from its very large size compared to other hornbill, ranging from the head, the beak, and the horn that cover the forehead. This bird is the mascot of West Kalimantan Province.

At its young age, Helmeted Hornbill has a clean white beak and crown. As the ages rises, the beak and the crown turn its color into red and orange. This is due to its behaviour to swerve the beak into the red orange glands located below its tail.

Helmeted Hornbill love to eat fruit of the fig tree, other than that, hornbills are rarely eat mice, insects, lizards and even small birds. The hornbill has one love have the habit of life in pairs and their very unique way of life.

The Unique Behavior of the Hornbill

The breading seasons of the hornbill begins from April to July. At the beginning of this period, the males make a hole on a tree for nesting and then the female will get in to the hole. The male feed the females through a small pit during the incubation periode and continues until their chick grows up and a ready-to-live the outside world.

Interestingly, the larger bird chicks help adult males feed on females and their new hatchlings.
The behavior and habits of this hornbill was then used as an example of life for Kalimantan's dayaknese to take care their spouses and also nurtured their children to become adults and independent.

Just like other hornbill, helmeted hornbill usually live in tall trees. A second before flying, horbill gives a sign by loud noise and when it's airing the the hornbill make a dramatic and distinctive sound.
The hornbills live in a group with  2 to 10 members. Some time we can also see them flying in large group with 30 members.

Rangkong Bird and Kalimantan Dayak People

Borneo Dayak culture can not be separated from hornbill. Various myths and stories behind hornbills are always maintained by the community. One of the myths about the Hornbill is that the Hornbill is the embodiment of the Bird's Commander in the inland forests. The Bird Commander is a figure who lives in the inland mountain of Borneo and has a supernatural presence and will only be present during the war.

In general, this bird is considered sacred and is not allowed to be hunted especially consumed. When a hornbill is found dead, his body is not thrown away by dayak tribes. The head part is used for their headdress decoration. Hard shelled hornbill frames will remain durable. These head ornaments can only be used by respectable people in the dayak tribe.

In addition to its beak, its black and white tails are used in Kalimantan's traditional clothes and are used as costumes in dances during the dayaknese ceremony. Custom dancers use hornbills as head ornaments and for their fingers.

According to Dayak people, the fowl is also a symbol of an ideal leader and dream. Because the hornbills fly and live on the mountains and tall trees, their fur is very beautiful, and its sound can be heard throughout the region.

As such, its thick wings represent leaders who protect the people. The loud voice symbolizes the leader's command that the people have always heard. Though long tails are a sign of the people's prosperity. In view of the whole, Rangkong Bird symbolizes the character of a beloved leader by his society.

The Hornbill Now

The life of the Helmeted hornbill is reluctance due to its expensive price of its ivory, now they are threatened with extinction.  These animals are now included in protected animal list by the Indonesian government because of their continued population decline.

Poaching and habitat destruction, is the major threat in to these animals. The uniqueness of these animals then became a disaster for themselves. the price of one bird head reaches $200. It can even jump up to ten times in international markets.

Other than wild poaching, these bird habitats have been partially damaged by illegal logging and land clearing for oil palm plantations. These birds lost their homes because of human did not care about the environment.
All of them have an impact on the deforestation Borneo. If this continues, our descendants will only be able to hear the story that Kalimantan once had helmeted hornbill.

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