Visayan tarictic -- 棕尾犀鸟 (Penelopides panini)

Male Visayan tarictic perched
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Visayan tarictic fact file

Visayan tarictic description

GenusPenelopides (1)

This unusual bird is the smallest hornbill in the Philippines (4), and possesses, like many other hornbills, a characteristic ornamental casque on top of its bill. The blackish-red casque is hollow and serves no function, but is believed to be the result of sexual selection. The casque sits on top of a wide, curved bill which has prominent yellow and reddish ridges. The male has a creamy-white head, neck and upper breast, turning rufous on the lower breast. The upperparts and wings are black with a bluish-green sheen. The creamy-white tail is also tipped in black, and the bare skin surrounding the eye is white. The female is smaller than the male and black all over, except for the tail; and the bare skin around the eye and on the throat is pale blue (2). Interestingly, the bare facial areas of a fledgling male and an adult female have been observed quickly changing from white to blue, and vice versa, though the reason for this remains so far unexplained (5). There are two subspecies recognised; Penelopides panini panini appears as described above, whereas Penelopides panini ticaensis is larger, with a darker rufous tail and underparts (2).

Also known as
Panay tarictic hornbill, tarictic hornbill.
Buceros panini.
Length: 45 cm (2)

Visayan tarictic biology

A feature of all hornbills is their unique breeding system in which the female is sealed into the nest by the male for the duration of incubation (6). The Visayan tarictic nests in natural holes in dead or living trees, at an average height of 11 meters, in March and April (7). The male seals the nest entrance with wood flakes and food remains (2), and will feed the female by regurgitating food during the 55 to 58 days she remains on the nest, incubating the two or three eggs (7). The Visayan tarictic generally breeds in pairs (8).

The Visayan tarictic has a diet primarily of fruit, and uses its long bill to reach selected items and toss them back into its gullet (2) (9). It also feeds on insects, earthworms, fish and lizards, and searches for food low down in the forest, and occasionally on the forest floor, at the forest edge and by clearings (2) (6).


Visayan tarictic range

The Visayan tarictic is endemic to the Philippines; P. p. panini occurs on the islands of Masbate, Panay, Sicogon, Pan de Azucar, Guimaras and Negros, P. p. ticaensis occurs only on Ticao (2).


Visayan tarictic habitat

Inhabits primary evergreen forest, but sometimes wanders into secondary forest, or visits isolated fruiting trees. It appears to prefer forest below 1,100 meters, although it is being found increasingly at higher altitudes up to 1,500 meters, perhaps as a result of lowland deforestation (2) (6).


Visayan tarictic status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Visayan tarictic threats

The forests of all the Philippine Islands from where the Visayan tarictic is known have been heavily deforested, with forest cover being reduced by at least 70 percent on all the islands, and Masbate, Guimaras, Sicogon and Pan de Azucar being almost completely deforested (2). Such rampant destruction is almost certainly having a serious impact on the species, and it may already have been exterminated from some islands. Hunting for subsistence, trade and sport has also devastated populations on some islands, and it is now possibly extinct on Sicogon as a result (6). Extensive hunting and trapping of the Visayan tarictic continues unchecked in many areas (6).


Visayan tarictic conservation

The Visayan tarictic is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that trade in this species should be carefully controlled (3). This endangered bird also occurs in the protected areas of the North Negros Forest Reserve and Mount Canlaon Natural Park, although the first only receives nominal protection, and the status of Mount Canlaon has not prevented the total clearance of the lower slopes (10) (11). On Panay, the declaration of the North-Western Panay Peninsula forest as a protected area affords some protection to the Visayan tarictics breeding there (12), and the Central Panay Mountains National Park has been proposed, which would encompass the majority of the island’s Visayan tarictic population (11). The proper protection of all these sites is an extremely important measure required for the survival of the Visayan tarictic. The Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project (PESCP) operates a nest protection programme for the Visayan wrinkled hornbill (Aceros waldeni) in north and north-west Panay, which also benefits the Visayan tarictic. Hunting and trapping of the tarictic in those areas has virtually ceased due to the monitoring and confiscations undertaken by PESCP (12). Mount Talinis and Mount Canlaon have also been the target of conservation awareness campaigns, which has reduced local hunting pressure (6) (11).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the Visayan tarictic see:

  • BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.



Authenticated (16/07/07) by Dr Eberhard Curio of the Conservation Biology Unit, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum.



A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
Sexual selection
The theory proposed by Darwin that some animals possess characteristics that are more attractive to potential mates. Individuals with such characteristics mate more than those without, so that more of the next generation will inherit the desirable trait. Such characters would be used either in male displays to attract females, or in combat between rival males.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (2001) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (January, 2007)
  4. Kennedy, R.S., Gonzales, P.C., Dickinson, E.C., Miranda Jr, H.C. and Fisher, T.H. (2000) A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Curio, E. (2004) On ornamental maturation of two Philippine hornbill species with a note on physiological colour change. Journal of Ornithology, 145: 227 - 237.
  6. Birdlife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the Birdlife International Red Data Book. Birdlife International, Cambridge, UK.
  7. Klop, E., Curio, E. and Lastimoza, L.L. (2000) Breeding biology, nest site characteristics and nest spacing of the Visayan Tarictic Hornbill Penelopides panini panini on Panay, Philippines. Bird Conservation International, 10: 17 - 27.
  8. Curio, E. (2005) Note on two species of endangered Philippines hornbills with an emphasis on breeding biology. In: Lum, S. and Poonswad, P. (Eds) The Ecology of Hornbills: Reproduction and Populations. Proceedings of the 3rd International Hornbill Workshop, Bangkok.
  9. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  10. Birdlife International (June, 2007)
  11. Birdlife International (June, 2007)
  12. Curio, E. (2007) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Male Visayan tarictic perched  
Male Visayan tarictic perched

© Daniel Heuclin /

NHPA/Photoshot Holdings Ltd
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