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The helmeted hornbill is one of 57 hornbill species in Africa and Asia. It’s found only in the lowland forests of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and southern Thailand. The helmeted hornbill stands apart from the other hornbills because its casque—the horny helmet above its beak—is mostly solid with a thick layer of keratin. But that unique trait might also be the birds’ undoing. Softer than ivory and easily carved, hornbill casques are in high demand in Asia, to be fashioned into beads, pendants, and intricate works of art. Illegal poaching has caused this bird to be on the critically endangered list.

Nanang Sujana

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