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  • Writer's picturePoki Poki

TUMBULAWA. A trip to the hornbills around a magic village.

At Togian Islands there is so many things to do besides hanging around in the hammock and building sandcastles - you can go snorkelling, diving, discover the jungle while trekking in the area of Bomba or the island of Una Una, take the canoe around the endless bays or join a cooking class. However, there is one very, very special thing that you can not find in many places around the world. And we do NOT mean the famous Jellyfish lake of the Togians.

You might have heard or seen from the beautiful hornbill birds. Maybe on your way through northern Sulawesi, in the Tangkoko National Park or on a trek in Central Sulawesi in the Lore Lindu National Park near Lake Posso. Usually you must be very lucky to spot them in the dense vegetation of the jungle where you might be able to spot one, two or a small family of those beautiful, large birds. However, only 30 minutes by boat from Poki Poki, around the village of Tumbulawa, you can see dozens of hornbills flying to rest in the old trees around the village just before sunset. This is a natural spectacle!

There are 55 different hornbill species around the world, living in Africa, the South West Arabia and South East Asia. They have similarities with Tucan birds but they are not from the same family. Hornbills live together in families and their way of breading is very exceptional. They are searching for old trees with big holes in the trunk. Inside the holes, the female will lay the eggs, the male will close the entire hole with little branches and mud to hide the female with the precious young generation . Only a very small hole remains through which the male will feed the female throughout the breeding process. This birds mainly eat fruits and small insects.

Protected by this artificial wall, the eggs are safe from nest robbers like snakes. The motherbird will stay with the small ones until they are able to fly. During the time in the dark nest the mother will loose all her feathers. After mother and young birds leaving the nest, the family will stay together up to three years. You can tell, watching the birds flying over you in Tumbulawa, that they come in groups, one family after another.

Hornbills don´t have many natural predators - biggest threat are humans. The birds are hunted for their beautiful, large beak which is used for crafts. Furthermore their habitat is threatened by logging. The hornbills are just one example of the impressive bird life at the Togian Islands. You can also find kingfishers, sea hawks, herons, parrots, endemic birds of Togian Islands and many, many more.

If you visit the village in the afternoon make sure to take a short walk and meet the wonderful people and many kids of the village before you rest on the wooden mangrove bridge to wait for the birds to fly in. If you are lucky and the moon is not very bright you can see a lot of fluorescent plankton on your way back in the dark to Poki Poki.

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