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Hornbills flying. © JT Jeeraphun / Adobe Stock

Hornbills flying. © JT Jeeraphun / Adobe Stock

Hornbills need your help

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Help save helmeted hornbills

Your donation could equip a ranger to prevent hornbill hunting.

An illegal trade is surging and these birds are paying with their heads. Please help save them.

Helmeted hornbills are one of the world’s most beautiful and charismatic birds, renowned for their incredible helmeted heads, prominent beaks and unique calls.

That’s why it is so devastating to see what is happening to them.

A trend of carving ornaments from their headgear has skyrocketed in recent years, seeing their numbers spiral rapidly downwards.

In 2015, their official status on the IUCN Red List was changed to Critically Endangered, a dramatic jump in their conservation status that sent alarm bells ringing throughout the conservation landscape.

Please donate and help save them. If we don’t act now, we could soon lose these brilliant birds forever.


could help to buy motorbike parts to help the rangers rapidly travel down dirt tracks in the tricky forest terrain.


could help to buy crucial camera traps for monitoring the hornbill population - especially critical as these birds are difficult to spot in the canopy.


could buy first-aid kits keep rangers safe while patrolling the incredibly difficult forest terrain.

© Edy Susanto / Fauna & Flora International


could help provide a week's rations for a ranger team - allowing them to stay on the move protecting hornbills.

Why are hornbills so suddenly under attack?

Helmeted hornbills have a unique, solid casque, which they use in spectacular aerial jousting matches – clashing heads mid-air to battle over their favoured food source of figs.

These specialised weapons accounting for around 10% of the entire bird’s weight, as heftier headgear could guarantee superiority in competing for food and a mate.

But these armoured heads have become their Achilles heel.

Typically, hornbill casques are light and hollow, but the helmeted hornbill’s appendage is a solid, ivory-like block, making it ideal for carving into ornamental trinkets.

Those trinkets have resurged in popularity, causing a wave of poachers to hunt for hornbills they can shoot, behead and sell on, so they can profit from these grim ornaments.

Confiscated casques of helmeted hornbills. © Tim Laman / Nature Picture Library

Confiscated casques of helmeted hornbills. © Tim Laman / Nature Picture Library

As well as being carved into pointless trinkets, there have also been reports of hornbill casques being used in traditional medicines - adding to the illegal trade.

How is Fauna & Flora helping hornbills? 

If we want to save hornbills, we have to stop the poaching and stop the trade.

In Southeast Asia, Fauna & Flora’s anti-poaching and forest protection work has helped to disrupt poaching networks and combat illegal wildlife trafficking dealing in helmeted hornbill ‘ivory’.

This work includes providing equipment and training to patrol teams so they can monitor for signs of poaching and work with law enforcement to address any that they find.

That extends all the way to helping secure fair prosecutions for those caught poaching or trafficking these birds, with Fauna & Flora working as expert witnesses in criminal cases.

Additionally Fauna & Flora is helping to address a shortage of nest sites brought about by widespread logging. An innovative programme has seen artificial nest boxes built in key locations, which should encourage hornbills and the other brilliant birds in the region to nest and help reverse the devastating trend in their population decline.

Hornbill feeding partner. © Tim Laman / Nature Picture Library

Hornbill feeding partner. © Tim Laman / Nature Picture Library

When nesting, a mother hornbill and her chicks are completely reliant on the father for food. If he's shot while foraging, the outcome is devastating for the entire family.

Why Fauna & Flora? 

The teams of local rangers that we support have been working throughout the hornbills’ habitat for decades. They know the land better than anyone and have contacts throughout local communities that help them foil potential poaching incidents before they even happen.

That expertise is unparalleled, and – if properly funded – is the most essential ingredient for saving hornbills.

So please, help equip these brilliant men and women, and donate now to keep hornbills safe.  

Donate today

+44 1223 749019

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