Khao Sok is famous for its wildlife. Especially a large variety of birds can be found here. For example: Sunbirds, chesnut- headed Bee eater, comon kingfisher, Olive Rudy kingfisher, Osprey Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Great Hornbill and much more.
There are 57 different species of hornbill in the world, nine of which live in Khao Sok National Park. Hornbills are characterised by a long, down-curved bill, sometimes with a casque (horn) on the upper mandible (bill). The casque is hollow and serves no known purpose although they are believed to be the result of sexual selection. Both the common English and the scientific name of the family refer to the shape of the bill, "buceros" being "cow horn" in Greek. Males are usually larger than females being up to 17% heavier and with up to 21% greater wingspan. Hornbills can live up to the age of 30 years.
The Black, Great, Helmeted, Rhinoceros, White Crowned, and Wrinkled Hornbills are classified as ëlower risk, near threatenedí with the other three (Bushy-crested, Wreathed and Oriental Pied) ëlower risk, least concerní as per the IUCN Red list. The Great and Helmeted Hornbills are also in appendix I of CITES, since the casque can be used as a carving material, similar to ivory.
Hornbills are monogamous and tend to mate for life. Before nesting, the male offers the female a food gift and takes her to the nest site ñ which is a hole in the side of a tree or cliff face. The female then enters this hole and proceeds to block up the entrance with organic materials, whilst the male does the same from the outside. Only a very small hole is left open, large enough for food and excrements to be passed into and out of the nest, preventing the nest from being raided by predators. In the larger species only 2 eggs are laid, but there maybe as many as 8 eggs in the clutches of smaller birds. Incubation lasts between 23 and 46 days (depending on the species and egg size) After about six or seven weeks, the female will break out of her prison and helps the male with food collection. Fledging can take anything between 42 and 137 days, again depending on the species, with sexual maturity occurring anything between a year (smaller species) to 3 to 6 years (larger species).
There are 12 species of Kingfisher expected in Khao Sok National Park. The species can vary in colour; some being the classical bright blues, others like the ruddy Kingfisher is rusty red in colour. Most of these birds are classified as ëlower risk, least concerní except the Rufous-collared Kingfisher which is ëlower risk, near threatenedí and the blue-banded Kingfisher which is ëthreatened, vulnerableí on the IUCN Red list.
The kingfisher does not build a nest but finds nesting places in tree-holes or by digging holes in river banks, and occasionally nesting in termite mounds. Clutches consist of between 2 and 7 eggs (depending on species), both the female and the male share the incubation, with fledging usually occurring three to eight weeks after hatching.
There are nine types of swift expected in Khao Sok National Park, including the Asian palm swift, which glues its nest to the undersides of palm leaves, using saliva and the Aerodramus fuciphagus which are one of the only species of birds capable of echo location and whose nests are used to make ëbirdís nest soupí.
In Thailand, swifts are best known for their nest. Birdís nest soup has been a delicacy in China for 600 years and Thailand is one of Chinaís main suppliers of nests. The nests can fetch values of up to US$ 1225 per kilo. The soup is made by soaking the nest in water, and cooking it together with herbs and sugar/honey.
There are 18 different species of Woodpecker expected in Khao Sok National Park. The Great Slaty Woodpecker is the largest in the world, about 50cm tall and 450g in weight. Members of the Picidae family have strong bills for drilling and drumming on trees and long sticky tongues for extracting food. Woodpeckers have zygodactyl feet, meaning they have four toes, two facing forwards and two facing backwards, giving the birds good grip on the vertical sides of trees. These birds are typically monogamous and make their nests by chipping holes in tree trunks, the male of the species is usually responsible for the excavation. The clutch comprises of 2 to 5 eggs, which are white in colour, making them easier to see in dim light. Incubation usually lasts around 11 to 14 days and is performed by both sexes. The young are ready to leave the nest after 18 to 30 days.