Indoor exhibit allows year-around observation of fascinating species
Press Photos: (All Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS): http://bit.ly/2mAzYnJ
Brooklyn, NY – March 1, 2017 –Wreathed hornbills (Rhyticeros undulates) have been on exhibit seasonally at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Prospect Park Zoo since 2014, but recent renovations to the Rotunda Gallery in the zoo’s Animal Lifestyles building included the creation of an indoor hornbill exhibit that will allow guests to enjoy these colorful birds year-around.
Hornbills mate for life, and the pair at the Prospect Park Zoo are pair-bonded. The new exhibit was created to provide a home conducive to breeding with hopes that they produce offspring in the future. Prospect Park Zoo staff has already witnessed courtship behavior between the two with the male making food offerings to the female.
There are many species of hornbills; all are named for the protruding structure at the base of the bill called a casque. Wreathed hornbills have a series of ridges along their comparatively flattened casque called wreaths.
The genders are easily distinguished. Males are larger and more colorful than their female counterparts. Each has a brightly-colored throat sack called a gular pouch that is used to store food. On the males, the pouch is bright yellow, the females’ is blue.
The pair on exhibit at the Prospect Park Zoo are in their twenties. Wreathed hornbills live to about 40 years in the wild and have been known to live into their 50s in zoos. They are sharing their new home with a pair of Victoria crowned pigeons.
The species is native to Southeast Asia and has a large range that spans from Northeast India to Indonesia. Although their populations are currently stable and they are classified as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they still face threats from human activity and habitat loss and fragmentation. The Wildlife Conservation Society works around the globe and within the wreathed hornbill’s range to save species and the places they live.
For more on the wreathed hornbills at WCS’s Prospect Park Zoo, visit WCS’s Wild View photo blog at http://blog.wcs.org/photo/ to read a post by Prospect Park Zoo Senior Wild Animal Keeper Sarah Parker.