Hornbills threatened by climate change?

Biologists are concerned that increasing temperatures may be affecting the breeding cycles of Khao Yai’s Great Hornbills.

Great Hornbill Photo by Mark Tomaras

A research team led by Dr. Pilai Poonswad of Mahidol University, noted that the Hornbill incubation and rearing cycle has increased from 120 to 140 days.

Dr. Pilai says she cannot definitively tie the change to Khao Yai’s rising average temperatures and drier conditions. Increased tourism or some other unknown impact could be disturbing the Great Hornbills’ normal cycles. However, it’s quite possible that the changing climate is affecting the plants that the birds feed on, which is, in turn, affecting breeding.

More research is required to understand how changes to the delicate balances in Khao Yai’s natural ecosystems are affecting the park’s plant and animal wildlife, including the majestic Great Hornbill.

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5 thoughts on “Hornbills threatened by climate change?

  1. With their huge beaks and gigantic wingspans Khao Yai’s Great Hornbills give he appearance of a robust species, but this is a reminder of just how fragile and dependent on a stable ecosystem they are. If breeding cycles are severely disrupted, Hornbill populations could rapidly diminish over a generation.

    From what I read, scientists have noted a general rise in temperatures and drying of Thailand’s forests, which could be a problem for many other species of birds, other animals and plants.

    All bird lovers should be concerned about climate change, especially given the dwindling populations of some species. This week another of Thailand’s bird species was added to the U.S. Endangered Species Act – the Gurney’s pitta, also native to Burma.

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