Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Critically Endangered

Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil)


French: Calao à casque rond German: Schildschnabel Spanish: Cálao de yelmo
Other common names: Great Helmeted Hornbill

Buceros vigil

J. R. Forster

, 1781,





Extreme S Myanmar (S Tenasserim) and S Thailand through Malay Peninsula to Sumatra and Borneo.

Descriptive notes

110–120 cm; male 3060 g, female 2610–2840 g. Distinctive, very large hornbill, mostly dark brown and white with long central tail feathers, relatively short bill... read more


A long series of short, resonant “pooh” calls, which sound rather high-pitched for the bird’s size... read more


Inhabits primary evergreen forest, especially in foothills, but able to use some selectively logged... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fruit, especially figs, but about half of each day spent hunting small animals, including squirrels, snakes, birds, even smaller... read more


Little known. Lays aseasonally, in Jan–Mar, May and Nov. Territorial in pairs, with aerial casque-butting in aggression. Nest in... read more


Apparently largely sedentary and territorial; small groups of up to 14 non-breeding and immature... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES I. Range has contracted in many areas through forest removal, though species still locally not uncommon in unlogged forest; extinct in Singapore... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Sharpe, C.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 15 November 2019).