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Bhutan, The last Shangri-la
The Spirit of Living Things
 
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HornbillHornbill

Hornbills are known to be choosy feeders and supporting such discriminating birds is an indication of the forest's well being. In the tropics fruiting time is unpredictable. The hornbill cannot rely on seasonality and so spends much time visiting different trees and checking for ripeness. They hold off until exactly the right moment -- too soon and the fruit is bitter, left any longer and somebody else will eat their meal. Timing is all.

During their nesting period, the hornbill's domestic arrangements are as as wonderful as anything found in nature. The male hornbill muds his mate into a hollow tree, leaving only a small hole through which he passes food for her and the growing chicks. Male hornbills have been Hornbillseen to swallow as many as 70 small fruits and carry them to the nest to be regurgitated to their young. The nest hole is not a prison -- the female is capable of breaking out and will do if disturbed.


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