A female Pied Hornbill  (Honoria) checking on the progress of a crop of ripening Ficus drupacea figs at Tg Aru beach. Honoria has been  resident at Tg Aru beach for at least the last ten years with her partner Horatio producing one or two chicks nearly every year.

Ficus drupacea  growing along the residential road at the back of Tg Aru beach, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.  The host tree has died and this strangler is now supporting itself. Two very large stranglers  Ficus drupacea and Ficus microcarpa  are  common in the public park behind the beach, along with several other figs including Ficus caulocarpa and Ficus crassiramea.
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When these figs are fruiting they attract lots of birds including Koels and Pied Hornbills.
When ripe, Ficus drupacea figs make a spectacular display


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Before the Second World War Pied Hornbills were common at Tg Aru beach, however after the war the easy availability of shotguns and air rifles led to their local extinction.  Pied Hornbills have only re-colonised the beach area after 1995 when a a pair (Honoria and Horatio) arrived to feed on fruiting figs particularly Ficus drupacea. Since 2000  Honoria and Horatio have been breeding regularly in a hole in a casuarina tree above the food stalls at First Beach. In the background you can see the five islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. From left to right Sulug, Manukan, Mamutik ( the small island in front of Manukan), Sapi and Gaya.
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A view of Tg Aru beach from the southern (airport) end. At the far end of the beach  you can see the buildings of the Shangrila-Tg Aru Resort. Behind the resort  (separated by the sea)  are the forested hills of Gaya Island,  the largest of  the 5 islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Fortunately Gaya Island  and the other islands opposite Tg Aru beach still host a large protected population of Pied Hornbills.

04 Signal Hill Map 328-329 - Copy (3)