Bird Families

Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Vitko)


The largest of the hornbills, the helmet-billed kalao, lives in Asia. At the base of the bird's forehead there is a huge "helmet", which gave the specific name.

All other members of the family have hollow and light beaks, unlike the helmet-billed kalao, whose beak is completely bone, and its weight can be 10% of the total weight of the bird.

The body color of the bird is dominated by brown and dark brown tones, the belly is white. On the wings there are black flight feathers with white tips.

Helmet-clawed kalao (Rhinoplax vigil).

The color of the light tail is distinguished by a black stripe located in the middle. The two long central tail feathers can be as large as one meter, which is twice the length of the bird itself. The neck of the Kalao is without plumage, wrinkled, in females it is turquoise, in males it is red and somewhat resembles the color of the head of a condor. The bird's beak from the base to the middle is also red, its second half is colored yellow.

The helmet-billed kalao is a bird with a remarkable appearance.

The appearance of the helmet-billed kalao is amazing and unforgettable. The bird's voice is also peculiar, which resembles manic laughter and serves as the hallmark of this species.

The habitat of the Kalao includes Thailand, Myanmar, as well as the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Previously, birds lived in Singapore, but now it has completely disappeared in these places. It is commonly found in tall-trunked evergreen forests up to 1,500 meters above sea level.

Kalao live in tropical forests.

The feathered inhabitants of the rainforest are territorial birds. Young individuals who have not reached puberty can live in small groups, while couples choose a certain territory and zealously defend their boundaries. Males often arrange "air battles", where the main "argument" is a massive beak. Sometimes feathered rivals fight so viciously that they fall to the ground in a fit of anger, but still continue to hammer each other with a powerful beak.

The helmet-billed kalao belongs to the rhinoceros birds.

The helmet-billed kalao hatches chicks in the hollows of trees, like all other hornbirds. While the female incubates the eggs, the male seals the entrance to the hollow with mud, he transfers food through a small hole left in the protective mud crust. After the chicks appear, the female breaks the "plug" from the inside and leaves the nest with the whole family.

Helmet-billed Kalao eat both vegetation and animals.

The main food of kalao is fruits, birds prefer figs. If possible, the birds will eat a small snake, a small mammal, or even the chicks of another hornbill. Usually, kalao food is found in the upper tier of the forest, for convenience, hanging upside down on a branch.

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Suitable for tense situations. Despair, elation.
Cruelty and harshness. Strong anger. Anxiety, suicidal thoughts, about impending danger. Irritability from the slightest worry. Homesickness, longing for freedom. Frustration from obstacles. Either the feeling that he is racing, or the feeling of being unable to take action. Aloofness, objectivity. Desire or aversion to eggs. Desire for fish, especially salmon. Aversion to sweets and chocolate. The eyes rotate in the sockets. Feeling as if the eyes are wide open and can see more than usual. Extremely clear vision (physical and mental). Focused or unfocused vision: eyes do not converge at one point

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Habitat and lifestyle

They live in the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as in Bhutan, in the northeast of India, southeast of Tibet and in the south of China (southern Yunnan). The lifestyle of the Asian kalao is similar to that of other members of the hornbill family. They live in the upper tiers of tropical rainforests. They nest in tree hollows. They feed mainly on fruits.


Large birds with a thickening typical for all members of this family at the base of the beak. The beak, as well as the plumage of the neck and facial part of the head, are usually brightly colored. The plumage of the wings and chest part of the body is in most cases of a dark color. The tail is white.


For November 2020, only one species belongs to the genus:

  • Aceros nipalensis (Hodgson, 1829) - Red-necked hornbill, or Nepalese hornbill, or Nepalese kalao

In 2013, based on phylogenetic studies from the genus Aceros the genus Rhabdotorrhinus A.V. Meyer & Wiglesworth, 1895, to which 4 species belong to November 2020:

  • Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus (Temminck, 1832) - Wrinkled kalao
  • Rhabdotorrhinus exarhatus (Temminck, 1823) - Calao-penelopides Temminck
  • Rhabdotorrhinus leucocephalus (Vieillot, 1816) - Mindanao rugose kalao
  • Rhabdotorrhinus waldeni (Sharpe, 1877) - Red-headed hornbill