31 March 2011

Hurray for hornbills!

Find out more about hornbills in Singapore and beyond in the latest The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2011 Supplement 24!
What is the Singapore Hornbill Project and what has it achieved?

In "The Singapore Hornbill Project: A great but simple idea" [pdf, 45.8 KB] Mr Wong Tuan Wah says: The conservation of Singapore’s hornbills, in particular the Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris, has been a great success. From the few birds in 1994, more than 50 hornbills have been spotted in Pulau Ubin. The number is increasing due primarily to the efforts of a collaborative project between the National Parks Board, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, CVM Pte. Ltd., National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and many other partners. Five years after the project began, hornbill progeny have spread to Changi Village and are slowly spreading to other parts of mainland Singapore.

Oriental pied-hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)

Hornbills not enough?
How many is a good number on Pulau Ubin?

In "A note on the minimum viable population of Oriental Pied Hornbills in Pulau Ubin" [pdf, 51.4 KB] Huang Jinghui says: The population of Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) in Pulau Ubin, Singapore, was evaluated to find out the minimum number considered to be sustainable in the long term. One factor that was taken into consideration was the effective population size whereby genetic diversity does not diminish over generations. The small population of Oriental Pied Hornbills in Pulau Ubin, which has an area of only 10.2 sq km, is now about 50 individuals. The island is separated by a thin strip of sea from mainland Singapore and by another strip of sea from Johor, Malaysia. This may cause inbreeding. Release or exchange of some Oriental Pied Hornbills may be needed so as to ensure that the gene pool is sufficiently diverse. Signs of a weakened gene pool should also be looked out for, like albinism, deformities or lowered reproductive success. Further research into the topic of genetic diversity of Oriental Pied Hornbill will be needed to have a more accurate estimation of the minimum viable population needed to sustain genetic diversity and survive episodes of population depletion.

Bloggers make a difference for hornbills!

In "Citizen science and the monitoring of hornbills in Singapore" [pdf, 48.6 KB] Prof Wee Yeo Chin says: Bird photographers in Singapore are accumulating excellent images of birds and their natural behaviour. The formation of a specialist group, the Bird Ecology Study Group (BESG) in 2005 saw close collaboration between photographers and this new bird group. These photographers are revitalising citizen science. Their observations and images are regularly posted in the BESG’s weblog http://www.besgroup.org/. All contributors are fully acknowledged, thus encouraging others to participate. These citizen scientists have monitored activities of hornbills in the fi eld, including courtship and nesting of two pairs of Oriental Pied Hornbills. Citizen scientists were also involved in collecting information of the aberrant behaviour of a pair of Great and Rhinoceros Hornbills, both female escapees. Weblog posts were made of these observations and subsequently published in scientific journals, with the citizen scientists as co-authors. We have shown that citizen scientists, be they photographers or birdwatchers, can be encouraged to make publishable field observations, and bring back crisp images of birds or their behaviour.

MORE papers on our hornbills!

Re-introduction of the Oriental Pied Hornbill in Singapore, with emphasis on artificial nests. Marc Cremades, Huimin Lai, Tuan-Wah Wong, Soon-Kiong Koh, Raja Segran & Soon-Chye Ng. [pdf, 7.84 MB]

Breeding observations on the Oriental Pied Hornbill in nest cavities and in artificial nests in Singapore, with emphasis on infanticide-cannibalism. Soon-Chye Ng, Huimin Lai, Marc Cremades, Mark Tee-Sin Lim & Sadali bin Mohammed Tali. [pdf, 4.75 MB]

And even more papers about hornbills throughout the region! Check out The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2011 Supplement 24!

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