Rare pied hornbills spotted in China's Yunnan

Four rare Malabar pied hornbills have been spotted at a nature reserve in southwest China's Yunnan Province, according to local authorities.

The Xiaoheishan Provincial Nature Reserve in Longling County said the birds were sighted by researchers during a field study in the nature reserve last October and have recently been identified as Malabar pied hornbills.

Han Lianxian, a zoologist with the Southwest Forestry University, said the hornbills have a scarce population and mainly inhabit evergreen broad-leaved forests in southwest China, feeding on fruits and insects.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified the bird as a near-threatened species on the Red List of Threatened Species.

Longling County, located near the Gaoligong Mountains, has recently launched a spate of ecological restoration projects including afforestation and reforestation. So far, the county has recorded a total of 292 wild bird species.

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