Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Near Threatened

Writhed Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus leucocephalus)


French: Calao de Vieillot German: Mindanaohornvogel Spanish: Cálao grande de Mindanao
Other common names: Mindanao Wrinkled Hornbill

Buceros leucocephalus


, 1816,

Moluccas; error = Mindanao, Philippines


Sometimes placed in Rhyticeros or Aceros. Has been suggested to form a species-group with R. corrugatus and R. waldeni, with Rhyticeros cassidix also in this group. Often considered conspecific with R. waldeni, but differs in plumage and bare-part colours, and in degree of sexual dimorphism in colour of facial skin. In the past was sometimes treated as conspecific with R. corrugatus, but differs markedly in numerous aspects of morphology. Monotypic.


Dinagat, Camiguin Sur and Mindanao (S Philippines); also, reported by local inhabitants on Siargao.

Descriptive notes

60–65 cm; male 1012–1295 g. Medium-sized black hornbill with black-tipped white tail. Male has crown and hindneck dark brown, face and neck to upper breast white... read more


A repeated, short gruff bark “grrah”.


Primary evergreen forest in lowlands, mainly below 500 m, but up to 1100 m.

Food and feeding

Mainly fruit, and some insects. Feeds in canopy of tall forest trees; sometimes hawks insects in flight. Forages over wide areas, often... read more


Almost unknown in wild. Sealed nest recorded in Mar; fledged young in Jan. In captivity, 2 eggs, female emerges at same time as chicks... read more


Ranges widely in search of fruiting trees and communal roosts.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Currently considered Near-threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Mindanao and the Eastern Visayas EBA. Previously considered... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Writhed Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus leucocephalus). 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 24 July 2019).