The Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills: Farmers of the Forest

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University of Chicago Press, 2007 - Nature - 315 pages
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Hornbills are among the world’s most distinct birds. Easily recognized by their oversized beaks adorned with large casques, they range from Africa to India and throughout Asia. One of the oldest bird orders, they have been known to mankind for millennia and loom large in the mythology of indigenous cultures of tropical Asia. In the past thirty years, ecologists have uncovered many fascinating aspects of hornbill biology, from their unique nest-sealing behavior to their roles as farmers of the forest.

Building on fourteen years of research, Margaret F. Kinnaird and Timothy G. O’Brien offer in Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills the most up-to-date information on the evolution, reproduction, feeding ecology, and movement patterns of thirty-one species of Asian hornbills. The authors address questions of ecological functionality, ecosystem services, and keystone relationships, as well as the disturbing influence of forest loss and fragmentation on hornbills. Complemented by superb full-color images by renowned photographer Tim Laman that provide rare glimpses of hornbills in their native habitat and black-and-white illustrations by Jonathan Kingdon that highlight the intriguing aspects of hornbill behavior, Ecology and Conservation of Asian Hornbills will stand tall in the pantheon of natural history studies for years to come.
  

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Contents

1 Why Hornbills?
1
Evolution Taxonomy and Morphology
19
Forests Fruits and Fires
51
How to Survive on Fruits
70
An Extraordinary Investment
105
A Tribute to Monogamy
128
Farmers of the Forest
155
Plates
158
A Reality Check
184
9 Outlook for the Future
235
References
261
Index
291
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Margaret F. Kinnaird is senior conservation ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Director of Mpala Research Centre, Kenya. Timothy G. O'Brien is senior conservation zoologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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