Sunda Wrinkled Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus): Barry Kent MacKay

Sunda Wrinkled Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus)

This small oil painting shows a pair of Sunda Wrinkled Horbills, native to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. I have put the female in front of the male, easily distinguished by his garish colouring. The “wrinkled” in the name refers to a variable degree of corrugation (as reflected in the scientific name) in the beak and the “casque”, a variably shaped segment on top of, and part of, the large beak.

I used to know a museum ornithologist who became somewhat obsessed with the fact that the colouring in birds could not be objectively determined, thus measured, since it was significantly influenced by external factors, such as the dirt, pollen, dust and other impurities live birds experienced. Thus he ordered museum preparators to rigorously wash the plumage of the specimens they prepared with the results that they became more brightly coloured than their wild kin, but quite unnatural looking. I mention this because I wonder what he’d make of the “white” tips of the tail feathers of the Sunda Wrinkled Hornbill which become stained, through preening, with natural body oils, this often a lovely golden-buff colour, as I showed in my painting. The oil-producing uropygial gland is at the base of the tail and once painted an African species of hornbill, the Silver-cheeked,

preening that gland, very prominent in hornbills (see second attachment). 

The Sunda Wrinkled Hornbill is monogamous, mates for life and in classic hornbill fashion the female seals herself into a cavity in a tree with mud and excreta, leaving a slit through which the male can feed her and her chicks until they are old enough to break out and enter the tropical forests which provides the fruit and small animals that constitute their diet.  Those forests are sadly being cut away for timber profits or to make room for palm oil and other crops, with the result that this beautiful, fascinating bird is now an endangered species. The painting is 12 X 16 inches in oils on compressed hardboard.

Barry Kent MacKay

Bird Artist, Illustrator

Studio: (905) 472 9731

Purchase, print, product info:

31 Colonel Butler Drive

Markham, ON L3P 6B6 Canada

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