The true descendants of dinosaurs, these feathered egg-layers have evolved some amazing behaviors and capabilities. Many of the most impressively colorful animals on this planet fall into this category, due to one incredible adaptation: flight. Bright colors make it easier to be spotted by predators, a danger that is cancelled out by the ability to escape to the sky.
Hornbills are among the most impressive, colorful and majestic of all birds. The background color for each painting in this series mirrors a color that appears sparingly on the head of the bird. During my time as a zookeeper, I had the pleasure of working with a pair of Blyth's hornbills: Samson and Delilah.
Hornbills belong to the family Bucerotidae. The name is derived from 'Buceros,' or 'cow horn' in Greek. Hornbills are the only birds with fused first and second neck vertebrae. This adaption is necessary to support the weight of their heavy bills.