Sarawak has been so strongly identified with the Hornbill bird, so much so that Sarawak is widely known as the ‘Land of the Hornbills’. This is to the fact that the Hornbill has been an icon to the natives of Sarawak and still features very prominently in their culture and customs. The protection of hornbills and other wildlife have, in the last 50 years become ingrained into the psyche of us Sarawakians.
Hornbill is listed as a Totally Protected Species in The Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998. The hornbill is perhaps the most easily recognizable forest birds in all of Asia. Hornbills usually have large heads, thin necks, broad wings and long tail feathers.
There are 57 species of hornbills in the world, with the four most prominent being the black, pied, rhinoceros and wreathed hornbills. There are eight species of hornbill found in Sarawak, namely, White Crested Hornbill, Bushy Crested Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Black Hornbill, Pied Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill – which is our state’s bird, and Helmeted Hornbill.
The updated IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: