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I was just about to drive out of the house, taking my family for brunch at Soi Heng Coffee Shop in Seria, when my wife alerted me to a pair of Oriental Pied hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris sp.) at my neighbour’s house across the street.

The birds had come to eat ripe palm fruits. I dashed out of the car, ran back into the house to grab my camera. Alas, when I returned, only one brave bird remained in the tree. Its partner had taken refuge in the dense foliage of an angsana tree (Pterocarpus indicus sp.).

Hornbill wary of my approach

One bird in hand is better than two in the bush, people say. I managed to capture only a few shots of these shy birds. The one in the angsana tree acted like a sentinel, alerting its partner of this encroaching lens-man.

The female bird sought refuge in the dense foliage of an angsana tree

No sooner had I clicked a few photos than the two love birds took flight. (Fact: Hornbills are known to pair for life, till death do they part.) However, I was fortunate enough to capture two rare shots, one of the hornbill picking a fruit, and the other swallowing that fruit.

This hornbill picked a ripe palm berry.

The hornbill gingerly tossed the ripe berry into its large bill

Notwithstanding the loud bursts of my camera shutter, I was pleased to have captured this pair of beautiful hornbills.

The hornbill determining if the scene was safe on my arrivalWatchful that I didn't come to near him

The palm trees are still laden with ripe fruit. It is my hope these beautiful hornbills would return to feed.

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1. Hornbills of Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia [http://www.zoo.org/document.doc?id=118]
2. Borneo Birds, WWF. http://bit.ly/o6IzqQ
3. Angsana, National Library of Singapore, http://bit.ly/qkFcPx
4. Pterocarpus indicus, Wikipedia, http://bit.ly/pdJH7U
5. Foxtail palm, Tropical Plants, Flowers and Decor, http://bit.ly/ocMrEO
a. Hornbills of Brunei
b. A Wild Side of Seria
c. The Other Flights on the Golf Course
d. Hornbills Ushering Monday Blues
e. Follow the light