Hornbills (order: Bucerotiformes) are a group of distinctive and charismatic birds found only in Tropical Asia and sub-saharan Africa. There are two families (bucorvidae and bucerotidae), 15 genera, 57 species and 75 subspecies; 32 species are in Asia and 25 species in Africa. They are mostly large in size and have long bills surmounted in many species by a conspicuous casque. Hornbills are omnivorous, but each species feeds predominately on fruits or small animals. Many hornbills are important seed dispersers and benefit the forest ecology. During the breeding season, the female enters a nesting cavity, usually in a large hardwood tree. she seals herself inside the cavity in the majority of species and stays there for much of the nesting cycle while the male brings food to her and her young. Most hornbill species are forest birds, dependant on large expanses of primary tropical rainforest for habitat, while some inhabit drier savanna, but all are vulnerable to disturbance and habitat loss.
Hornbills of the World is the first authoritative photographic guide to the order. All species are described and illustrated in multiple photographs showing both male and female, and distinct subspecies. There is additional information on:
- Evolution, Distribution and Relationships
- General Habits
- Feeding Ecology
- Breeding Ecology
- Social Life
- Threats and Conservation
Dr. Pilai Poonswad (Thailand), Dr. Alan Kemp (South Africa), and Morten Strange (Singapore) are all renowned hornbill experts and/or bird-book writers. * Dr. Tim Laman (USA) and 61 other world class photographers have made their best work available. Hornbills of the World was produced in co-operation with the Hornbill Research Foundation in Thailand, and proceeds will be donated to hornbill research and conservation.
* Some photos on this book were taken by Tim Laman co-author of Birds of Paradise: Revealing the World's Most Extraordinary Birds
Professor Pilai Poonswad was born in 1946. She obtained a B.Ed. and Graduate Diploma in Nuclear Technology at Chulalongkorn University, M.Sc. in Microbiology at Mahidol University and D.Sc. in Biology at Osaka City University, Japan. She is currently Emeritus Professor in Biology at the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University. She is the representative of Thailand at the International Ornithological Union, a founder and committee member of the Hornbill Research Foundation and elected as a Honorary Fellow of American Ornithologist' Union. Prof. Poonswad began to study hornbills in Khao Yai National Park in 1978 and set up the Thailand Hornbill Project to study the biology and ecology of hornbills in 1979. She became a Laureate of The Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2006, presented by Rolex SA, Switzerland, for efforts to protect hornbills and their habitats. She has also won the 52nd Annual Chevron Conservation Award 2006 presented by the Chevron Corporation, USA. In Thailand, she received
the Dushdi Mala Medal for Great Eminence in Science from His Majesty King Bhumibhol (King Rama IX) (2007), the highest national award; National Outstanding Person Award (in Natural Resources and Environment Conservation) (2007) by the Prime Minister's Office, Royal Thai Government; Outstanding Lecturer Award (in Science and Technology) by the Council of the University Faculty Senates of Thailand (2006) and Mahidol University Prize for Excellence in Research (2005). Her research findings have been continuously published and disseminated in various forms of media both national and international, including peer-reviewed journals, newspapers, magazines, books, TV programs, radio and documentary films.
Alan Kemp was born in 1944 and brought up in Zimbabwe, where his volunteer work for the National Museums exposed him to various aspects of wonderful natural habitats and wildlife. After graduating in Zoology and Entomology from Rhodes University in South
Africa in 1966, Alan worked for three years in the Kruger National Park as a research assistant for Syracuse and then Cornell Universities, mainly on raptors but also with time to collect data for his doctorate on small savanna hornbills. He completed his thesis at the then Transvaal Museum in South Africa and was appointed to the bird research department where he extended his hornbill work to Monteiro's Hornbill and Southern Ground-hornbill. During his 30 years at the museum he was later able to visit Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia in pursuit of hornbills and raptors. This culminated in a 1995 monograph on the Bucerotiformes for Oxford University Press. Alan always worked closely with his wife Meg, and in retirement they both still assist with hornbill studies.
Morten Strange was born in Denmark in 1952. A short petroleum engineering career brought him to Singapore in 1980; after retirement from the oil business in 1986, he set up his own business, providing nature photography and writing, especially about tropical rainforest birds. He worked with Dr. Poonswad in the 1990s and followed her research teams to the field to record her work on the hornbills in photographs and text. Since 1993, Morten has written and illustrated five photographic guides to the birds of Malaysia, Indonesia and South-east Asia. He has now moved from active photography into editing and publishing; currently he owns his own publishing company, Draco Publishing & Distribution Pte Ltd.