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Palawan Hornbill Anthracoceros marchei
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This hornbill has a small population which is declining rapidly as a result of the loss of lowland forest, compounded by hunting, and it therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

70 cm. Smallish, forest-dwelling hornbill. White tail. Rest of plumage entirely black, glossed dark greenish on upperparts. Large, creamy-white to yellowish bill and casque with dark base to lower mandible. Whitish-tinged blue bare orbital and gular skin. Female and immatures have reduced casque. Voice Various loud, raucous calls including kaaww and kreik-kreik. Hints Most easily found at forest edge.

Distribution and population
Anthracoceros marchei is endemic to Palawan and its satellite islands in the Philippines. It has recently been described as quite common to uncommon and has evidently declined. There have been recent observations from c.10 localities, including several tiny offshore islands whose small populations appear relatively secure. It appears to be fairly common in Puerto Princessa Subterranean River National Park and the El Nido Reserve; Iwahig penal colony, Omoi Cockatoo Reserve, Dumaran Island and Culasian Managed Resource Protected Area, Rizal, southern Palawan may also be key sites for the species (P. Widmann in litt. 2007). In a 2006 survey in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, the species was recorded at densities of 19.6 ± 3.6 individuals/km2 in old growth forest; 13.8 ± 4.8 individuals/km2 in advanced growth secondary forest forest; and 9.6 ± 7.6 individuals/km2 in old growth forest (Mallari et al. 2011). The species was not recorded in cultivated areas.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining rapidly, owing to the extensive and on-going clearance of remaining lowland forest within its range, combined with the impact of hunting.

It inhabits all storeys of forests, including secondary growth, up to 900 m, but probably requires large trees for nesting. It may also frequents mangroves, cultivated land and bushlands, all presumably close to contiguous forest, although a 2006 survey did not record the species in cultivation at all, despite 4 months of fieldwork in the Puerto Princessa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan (Mallari et al. 2011). In this area, the species was recorded to reach its highest densities in old growth forest, followed by advanced growth secondary forest, and lowest densities in early growth secondary forest (Mallari et al. 2011). It may make local movements in response to food availability.

Deforestation in lowland Palawan and on many of its satellite islands (e.g. Culion, Balabac and Busuanga) has been extensive. Logging and mining concessions have been granted for much of the island's remaining forest. Illegal logging is thought to persist in the south, and forest at Iwahig penal colony may be threatened by plans to mine chromite. Hunting for food and sport is also a threat and nest trees may be raided for young birds with the species apparently becoming increasingly common in the pet trade.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The whole of Palawan is classed as a game reserve, where hunting is illegal, and the island was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1990, although the legislation controlling habitat alteration and hunting is difficult to enforce effectively. It occurs in the protected areas of El Nido Marine Reserve, Puerto Princessa Subterranean River National Park and the newly created Omoi Cockatoo Reserve, Dumaran Island and Culasian Managed Resource Protected Area, Rizal, southern Palawan. In the latter two sites the species benefits from a wardening scheme originally created for the Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia (P. Widmann in litt. 2007). The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park was expanded to include the remaining forest of Cleopatra's Needle where the species is known to occur (B. Tabaranza in litt. 2007). The park is actively managed by the City Government of Puerto Princesa. It recently featured on a bilingual environmental awareness poster in the "Only in the Philippines" series. Wildlife trade is addressed through Katala Foundations "Southern Palawan Anti-Poaching Initiative", and a more recent cooperation of Katala Foundation with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and possibly a joint project with TRAFFIC South-East Asia (P. Widmann in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys in remaining lowland forests, particularly around Mts Victoria and Mantalingahan, to identify and propose for protection additional key sites. Research its year-round ecological requirements. Support the proposed extension of St Paul's Subterranean River National Park. Formally protect forests at Iwahig. Allocate greater resources towards more effective control of hunting in Palawan forests and initiate conservation awareness campaigns amongst forest product collectors.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

Mallari, N. A. D.; Collar, N. J.; Lee, D. C.; McGowan, P. J. K.; Wilkinson, R.; Marsden, S. J. 2011. Population densities of understorey birds across a habitat gradient in Palawan, Philippines: implications for conservation. Oryx 45(2): 234-242.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Davidson, P., Derhé, M., Lowen, J., Peet, N.

Tabaranza, B., Widmann, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Anthracoceros marchei. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Palawan hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
Species name author Oustalet, 1885
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 13,400 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species