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Chinese photographers capture rare pictures of great hornbill sealing up tree hole

(People's Daily Online)    16:14, March 08, 2021

Wildlife photographers have recently captured rare pictures of a great hornbill, a state-protected wild animal species, using her bill to seal up a tree hole to build a nest for incubating her eggs in Yingjiang county, southwest China's Yunnan province.

The female great hornbill was seen repeatedly picking up mud-like material with her bill and plastering them in the hole. When her mate brought her berries, she also used some of them to seal up the hole.

After two hours of efforts, lumps of materials moistened with her saliva had been plastered on the walls of the hole.

These videos and photos help fill in the blanks of China's records of great hornbills sealing up nest cavities, said Zeng Xiangle, a bird expert.

A female hornbill usually piles up a mixture of mud and excrement at the entrance of a tree cavity where they nest in advance, and then seals up the entrance, leaving only a slit wide enough to pass food through and narrow enough to prevent predators such as snakes, which feed on eggs and young birds, from entering, Zeng explained.

Photo shows a male great hornbill bringing a berry to his mate while she nests inside the tree hole. (People’s Daily Online/Yin Yihu)

Photo shows a female great hornbill sealing up the tree hole. (People’s Daily Online/Yin Yihu)

Photo shows a female great hornbill sealing up the tree hole. (People’s Daily Online/Yin Yihu)

Photo shows a great hornbill sealing up the tree hole. (People’s Daily Online/Yin Yihu)

Photo shows a male great hornbill perching on a branch next to the tree hole. (People’s Daily Online/Yin Yihu)

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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