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Viseshakul N.,Chulalongkorn University | Charoennitikul W.,Mahidol University | Kitamura S.,Mahidol University | Kitamura S.,Rikkyo University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2011

Understanding the origin and radiation of modern Asian hornbills and the influential ecological roles they play as seed dispersal agents within Asian rainforests should help reveal the evolution of these roles. We constructed a dated phylogeny of hornbills using mitochondrial DNA sequences of the cytochrome b gene and discovered that all clades leading to frugivorous hornbills originated in the mid-Eocene ∼48Ma. This 'explosive' radiation coincided with a remarkable floral invasion of Asian rainforests from the Indian microcontinent. Analysis of phylogenetic data, in conjunction with palaeontological events, suggests that the invasion of distinctive flora comprised two waves, one during the mid-Eocene, when India was offshore of the Sunda Shelf, and the other late Eocene, when India collided with the Asian mainland. We propose that frugivorous vertebrates, such as hornbills, were present during the first wave and assisted rapid colonization of the Asian flora. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2011 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.


Chamutpong S.,Mahidol University | Ponglikitmongkol M.,Mahidol University | Charoennitikul W.,Mahidol University | Mudsri S.,National Park and Wildlife Research Division | Poonswad P.,Mahidol University
Raffles Bulletin of Zoology | Year: 2013

The great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and the rhinoceros hornbill (B. rhinoceros) are among the largest Asian hornbill species and they overlap in parts of their ranges. These two species resemble each other in appearance and breeding habits and are sister taxa. In 2004 and 2008, two occurrences of mating in the wild between a male rhinoceros hornbill and a female great hornbill were discovered in the forests of Budo Mountain, southern Thailand. These mated pairs each successfully raised a chick. Morphological and phenotypic characteristics of the chicks most resemble the great hornbill with a few distinctive features shared between both hornbills. Genetic data confirmed these incidences of hybridisation. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA in the hypervariable control region III of these two chicks showed similar patterns to those of their mother, the great hornbill. An investigation of parentage, using 11 microsatellite loci developed from the great hornbill, indicated that the chicks shared at least one allele with the putative mother at all loci. Three different alleles, specific for rhinoceros hornbill, were also detected in the chicks. This suggests that the female great hornbill and male rhinoceros hornbill were the true parents of these hybrid chicks, and that the chicks shared the same mother. Our results is the first report of hybridisation between the great hornbill and the rhinoceros hornbill in the wild, and has been genetically confirmed. © National University of Singapore.


Poonswad P.,Mahidol University | Thiensongrusamee P.,Mahidol University | Mudsri S.,National Park and Wildlife Research Division
Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2012

Hornbills, the largest birds of Asian tropical forests, are ideal flagship species. Budo Mountain supports six sympatric hornbill species, of which Rhinoceros Hornbill Bucerosrhinoceros and Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplaxvigil are locally endangered. Because hornbills rely on a cavity in a large tree for nesting, the combination of forest encroachment and poaching could extirpate them from Budo. To increase and sustain hornbill populations, we set two phases of approach, immediate and long-term. Since 1994, 50 ex-poachers and/or illegal loggers from 13 villages around Budo were persuaded to participate in research and conservation programs together with urban people. These were based on hornbill nest adoption, with 1,774 nest-years of adoption now accrued that provide an essential data base and major source of funding. Within 90 km 2 of Budo rainforest, villagers have located 189 nest trees, among which an average of 38 nests were used annually. Despite difficulties within the area, including natural problems and situations of social unrest, a cumulative total of 1,170 nest-cavity-years have been recorded by the villagers, and at least 490 chicks have fledged. The program is considered successful in terms of poaching eradication and has led to the establishment of the Budo Hornbill Conservation & Education Center in 2004 on a piece of land donated by a villager's family. The Center provides educational and conservation lessons to schoolteachers, children, teenagers and villagers in the surrounding area for approximately 400 individuals per year, and could be a model for conservation programs of other large but critically endangered bird species. © 2012 Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.

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