An hornbill from New Guinea
The Papuan Hornbill is part of the local population’s religious and mythological traditions. Its head, the beak and the tail feathers – have always been – and still are - incorporated into headdresses, earrings and feather ornaments.
In New Guinea, the men of the Dani and Asmat tribes use the upper part of the beak as “penis-shafts” called koteka.
The woodcarvers of the Asmat tribe in the south of New Guinea represent the species on their famous “totems”: large “Bisj poles” up to seven metres tall, carved in a single piece of tree trunks and found in every village of this area.
There is a marked sexual dimorphism in this species: the female has a black head and neck whereas the male is bigger and has a head and neck covered in russet-red and gold plumage.
When these hornbills fly in pairs, over the treetops, their calls and the rustling of their wings can be heard from far.
A less threatened species
- Name : Papuan Hornbill
- Latin name : Rhyticeros plicatus
- Origin : North of Molucas, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago
- IUCN status : Least concerned
- Cites : Appendix II