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acrylic on illustration board 18 x 30
In the forests of the Sunda Shelf, from peninsular Malaysia through Sumatra, Java and Borneo, the braying calls and loud, huffing wingbeats of the Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) are familiar sounds. Both sexes sport a large orange casque on the bill. This hollow ornament is larger in the male bird, and varies in shape among three distinct races: one on Java, one on Borneo, and one on Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.
In this painting a large male hops along a tree branch with a fig, possibly to present it to a mate walled up inside her nesting hole. This hopping gait is common among smaller perching birds, but I can think of no other bird as large as a hornbill that habitually moves in this fashion. Incidental creatures in this painting include a Slender Squirrel (Sundasciurus tenuis), a small flock of Oriental White-eyes (Zosterops palpebrosus), a Long-horned Beetle (Batocera sp.) and a Common Mormon Swallowtail (Papilio polytes).