1065. Rhinoplax vigil.
The Helmeted Hornbill.
Buceros vigil, Forster, Ind. Zool. p. 40 (1781). Buceros scutata, Bodd. Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 55 (1783). Buceros galeatus, 67m. Syst. Nat. i, p. 360 (1788) ; Blyth, J. A. S. B. xvi, p. 998; id. Cat. p. 45. Rhinoplax scutatus, Horsf. 8; M. Cat. ii, p. 581; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 318. Rhinoplax vigil, Elliot, Mon. Buc. pl. 10; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 115; Hume, Cat. no. 146 quint; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 89 ; Hartert, J. f. Orn. 1889, p. 366; Ogilvie Grant, Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 427.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, and nape black feathers behind eyes and ear-coverts chestnut; breast, sides of back, and outside of wings black; scapulars, tertiaries, and rump browner; abdomen, upper and lower tail-coverts, and under wing-coverts white ; base and tips of all quills, except the first primary and the last secondaries, white ; long middle pair of tail-feathers whity brown, the others white, all with a broad subterminal black band.
Anterior half of bill and front of casque yellow, rest of casque and posterior half of bill crimson ; iris dark red; bare skin of neck and back, legs and feet, and skin everywhere beneath feathers dull deep red in male, in the female the naked back and hind-neck are reddish lilac, sides and front of neck greenish blue, veined with sky-blue (Hartert).
Length of male about 5 feet; tail 34 inches ; wing 19 ; tarsus 3 ; bill from gape 6.5. Female: length about 50; tail 26 ; wing 16.5: bill 5.75.
Distribution. Malay Peninsula, extending into the extreme south of Tenasserim ; also Sumatra and Borneo.
Habits, &c. A very shy bird, inhabiting high forest generally in pairs, not descending to the ground, and living on fruit. The flight is weak. The note is very peculiar and powerful; it begins with a series of whoops, uttered at intervals that grow gradually less till, after ten or a dozen quick repetitions, the call ends in a harsh cackling laugh. This account is taken from Davison, whose observations are confirmed by Hartert. Nothing is known of the nidification, nor of the use to which the bird puts its very singular, straight, pointed bill and heavy casque.