Rufous Hornbill (Nayab)

Review and images by Lanthanotus; edited by bmathison1972

Amongst the roughly 10,000 species of birds, the hornbills form a unique family of middle-sized to large birds with strong, downcurved beaks on which many species boast an impressive casque on the upper mandible. Quiet a few species are also very colorful. Despite their striking appearance, the number of toy figures is very (and I mean very) limited and most of these are not easy to track down. Here I want to introduce you to the rufous hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax) by Nayab; according to The figure’s imprint simply says “China”, nothing more.

The rufous hornbill is distributed among the Philippine Islands and prefers primary rainforest or old growth secondary forest. It feeds mainly on figs and other fruits, but also incorporates the eggs of other birds, large invertebrates, or small vertebrates into its diet. The large bird grows up to 65 cm in length and may weigh up to 2 kg. Males and females are not very distinct from each other; males are usually a bit larger than females. As in all large hornbill species, the female seals itself into the nest cavity for up to three months to breed and raise the young. During this time, it is totally dependent on the male for food and water. The rufous hornbill lives in small troops of 5 to 7 birds, so other males help with this long-term task. The impressive casque makes the rufous hornbill and other species desired hunting objects, and as almost any living thing on this planet nowadays, it suffers greatly from habitat loss.

Despite its large size in life, the figure is quite small, its wings spanning 8.5 cm, direct length from beak to tail tip is 6.5 cm, and stands 3.6 cm high. It is made from a soft, pliable plastic and makes a great and durable toy. The paint job is simple and aside from the red casque, not true to the real animal. The beak and feet are dirty brown while the upper wings are lined in white. And despite the main back color of the plastic, the eyes are painted black – and very precise.

For a cheap animal figure most likely sold in bags with a dozen or more other “wild animals”, the sculpt is very good in overall proportions, as well as in the detailing of the feathers. The feet and toes are strong, but reasonably thin. The eyes are placed a bit to far back in the skull, but other than that, it is a really nice and charming figure.

If you like exotic birds or just want a member of this impressive bird family in your collection, I highly recommend to track this one down. It remains unknown to me whether it is still in production or not, but if you search for it, your biggest chance may be to comb through lots on eBay with a sharp eye.

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