Despites its distinctive appearance, the white-crowned hornbill has been described as an unobtrusive bird that remains beneath the forest canopy, and so is most often heard, or spotted as it flies across gaps in the forest in small groups (2). The diet consists primarily of animals, such as birds, lizards, snakes, insects, arthropods and larvae which it finds amongst bark, stems and debris from logging, but it also feeds on a variety of fruits (2) (4). The white-crowned hornbill undertakes short, ‘floppy’ flights between forest patches, where it then hops and climbs amongst the dense undergrowth looking for food.
The white-crowned hornbill is a territorial bird, and assumes a distinct threat posture when intimidated; it faces it opponent with its wings open, tail spread and bill lowered. Territories are occupied by a group of three to eight individuals, usually consisting of one dominant breeding pair, one to three helpers and a number of juveniles (2). The breeding pair is monogamous, with a co-operative breeding system, in which other adults and young in the group assist with the feeding of the breeding female and the chicks (5). The nest is situated in natural holes in logged or unlogged forest (2), and like other hornbills, the female seals herself into the tree hole with her own faeces, regurgitated food and mud, leaving only a small opening through which the male passes food. When the chicks fledge, the female and her young leave the nest (5).