Meet the Zoo: Bar-Patched Wreathed Hornbills

June 15, 2012

Denise McClean, Director of the Prospect Park Zoo, writes about these unique birds for the Prospect Heights Patch blog.

Two bar-patched wreathed hornbills are enjoying their first summer at the zoo, where visitors often wonder about their unique features. Most prominent are their oversized beaks, held stable by an adaptation unique to hornbills--they are the only bird with the first two neck vertebrae naturally fused together.

Keepers are optimistically monitoring the pair for breeding behavior, but so far the male is playing hard to get. He frequently holds out a grape to the female, beckoning her. As soon as she prepares to take the grape from his beak, he flips his head back and swallows it. 

To read more about our pair of wreathed hornbills, visit the Prospect Heights Patch column by Zoo Director Denise McClean.