Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012 [note that this has been moved back by about two months].
Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris is a widespread resident in northern South Asia, southern China, Indochina and western Indonesia. It is listed as being of Least Concern on the basis that it does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence of less than 20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appeared to be stable, and hence the species was not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be at least 10% over ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure).
The species’s ability to survive in edge habitats, secondary forests, selectively logged forests, gardens and cultivated land (Kemp 1995) indicates a high tolerance of habitat fragmentation, degradation and disturbance, and suggests that it is relatively resilient to the impacts of agricultural expansion and timber exploitation. In fact, the species shows a preference for lower-growth and secondary forest over tall primary forest (Datta 1998). Despite its tolerance of human-altered landscapes, in the Thai-Malay Peninsula at least the species prefers the interface between low-lying terrestrial forest and a coastline or significant river (Wells 1999).
Although little concern has been expressed in the past regarding its status, it was recently noted that this species has been almost completely extirpated from southern China (J. Fellowes in litt. 2010). In the Thai-Malay Peninsula, the species is in decline probably owing to off-take for the trade in fledglings and outright forest clearance, which leads to its local disappearance (Wells 1999). There is some evidence that the species has traditionally been captured for the local pet trade, as historically one to two were reportedly kept in every village in at least some areas of Myanmar (Tickell 1864 in Kemp 1995). The casques of Oriental Pied Hornbills are common souvenirs in the markets of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam; however, the extent of this trade has not been measured (Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007).
Kinnaird and O’Brien (2007) conducted Principle Component Analysis of the vulnerability of Asian hornbill species to patterns of habitat loss and fragmentation and placed each species in one of four groups: ‘safe’, ‘vulnerable’, ‘at risk’ and ‘high risk’. The analysis resulted in the Oriental Pied Hornbill being placed in the ‘vulnerable’ group on the basis that it has large amounts of habitat remaining but is suffering from the fragmentation and isolation of populations (Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007).
In light of this information and given the widespread prevalence of relevant threats, further information is requested on its status from all parts of its range. Data and observations on the severity of threats and likely population trends are needed to help in the re-evaluation of its Red List status. Evidence that the overall rate of decline is approaching 30% (typically 20-29%) over three generations, estimated by BirdLife to be c.28 years, would likely qualify the species for uplisting to Near Threatened. If evidence suggests that the rate of decline is at least 30% over 28 years, the species may be eligible for uplisting to at least Vulnerable.
Datta, A. (1998) Hornbill abundance in unlogged forest, selectively logged forest and a forest plantation in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Oryx 32: 285-294.
Kemp, A. (1995) The Hornbills. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (Bird Families of the World).
Kinnaird, M. F. and O’Brien, T. G. (2007) The ecology and conservation of Asian hornbills: farmers of the forest. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Wells, D. R. (1999) The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Volume One, Non- passerines. London, UK: Academic Press.