Helmeted Hornbill records sought

Bee Choo Strange of the Hornbill Research Foundation is on an urgent mission to collate all records of Helmeted Hornbills Rhinoplax vigil within the species's geographic range in preparation for a report to delegates attending the Helmeted Hornbill Conservation Strategy and Action Plan workshop in Sarawak, Malaysia, in May 2017.

The Helmeted Hornbill was uplisted in the IUCN Red List from from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered in 2015 owing to severe hunting pressure for its casque and habitat loss. Hunting pressure is expected to increase across the species's range and urgent conservation action is required.

The Indonesian government recently called upon the international community to help  prevent illegal trade in the species - in particular bill casques - during last year's meeting of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

The forthcoming Sarawak workshop will include NGO representatives from range countries and aims to develop a conservation Action Plan for the Helmeted Hornbill.

Phase I (March - May 2017) involves collating Helmeted Hornbill records from the literature, databases, museums and most importantly, recent and near-recent records from birdwatchers.

If you have records of Helmeted Hornbills - particularly recent sightings - please enter your data by visiting the following location and following the instructions there.

Please note any information provided will be used for research purposes only and will not be disclosed publicly.

Helmeted Hornbill  Rhinoplax vigil  © Muhammad Alzahri

Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil © Muhammad Alzahri

Summit on songbird crisis in Asia

First announcement - details of how to register your interest below

Songbird Crisis Summit: Setting priorities to address the threat of songbird trade in the Greater Sunda region

26th-29th September 2015, Jurong Bird Park, Singapore

Songbird-keeping as a pastime is firmly entrenched in local culture and tradition in many regions of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia has one of the highest global demands and volume of domestic and international bird trade - involving hundreds of species and thousands of individual birds. The capture for the songbird trade is recognised as the single largest threat for many species in Southeast Asia, particularly the Greater Sunda region that comprises Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. At the present time, there is a lack of regulation, monitoring and enforcement efforts of bird markets, trade routes and collection sites by the relevant authorities. There needs to be an increase in awareness of the species conservation needs’ amongst the public, government and conservation groups.

In response to this crisis, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, TRAFFIC, and Cikananga Wildlife Center, along with other international institutions, have joined forces to host Asia’s first Songbird Crisis Summit.

The overarching goal of the Summit is: To raise awareness and profile of the songbird trade crisis to enhance conservation and enforcement efforts for threatened species of birds

The major objectives of this Summit are:

Southeast Asian Songbird Working Group

  • To establish a Southeast Asia Songbird Working Group with yearly reports and follow-up meetings

  • To develop and formalise an overall Strategy and Action Plan for the Songbird Working Group, as well as an agenda of follow-up activities

  • To define the responsibility(s) of each party and their role in the conservation and/or protection of these species

Strategy Planning

  • To list the top 25 songbird species for the Regional Conservation Strategy of the Greater Sundas;

  • To identify species of very high priority and develop species-focused action plans/publications to reduce the threats to each of these species;

  • To develop actions to be taken to encourage governments in the region to close down open large-scale bird markets trading in threatened and illegal species;

  • To provide current information and recommendations to BirdLife International to aid in the IUCN Red List status re-assessment of these key species for 2016;

  • To make suggestions to improve or re-assess national and international protection status of songbird species – particularly heavily traded species

  • To identify species that would benefit from being listed in the Appendices of CITES and develop actions to move these recommendations forward;

  • To produce a written “protection” agreement or MOU for each species to be signed by the ‘action’ organisations.

Venue provided by WRS:

  • Jurong Bird Park, Singapore


  • Three and a half days

  • 26th Sept (Sat) to 29th Sept (Tue)

  • Lunch, morning and afternoon tea breaks and one dinner session will be organised and provided by WRS

  • Attendees will have to cover their airfares, local transport and accommodation (a list of potential stay options and local transportation details will be sent out at a later date)

Draft Agenda:

  • Day 1 – Saturday 26th Sept:

    • Public/Media Event on the Wild Bird Trade: Public talks and activities.

    • Ice-breaker for Summit attendees

    • Day 2 – Sunday 27th Sept:

      • Songbird Trade updates and Regional Strategy formulation

      • Dinner

      • Day 3 – Monday 28th Sept:

        • Species-focused Action Planning – select 5 priority species

        • End of Summit - Free evening for Summit attendees

        • Day 4 – Tuesday 29th Sept:

          • Half-day session to compile and organize data for final document (Optional)

Please contact Jessica at or +65 9822 6644by the 1st of June if you are interested to attend this Summit.

Please note that as this is a strategy-planning workshop, sufficient knowledge on the topic as well as active participation in the development of this conservation document is expected.

Please help us distribute this invitation to those you think could significantly contribute to this effort.

Registration Form

Information for Attendees

Looking forward to seeing you all in Singapore in September!

The Songbird Crisis Summit team