Hornbills, when mating, will find a tree with an empty hole, and having successfully mated, the male hornbill leaves, but the female remains and waits to lay the eggs.
During this process, however, she loses all her feathers – I would also stay in a hole if this happened to me, I must admit.
The male, during this time, blocks up the hole, leaving just a small enough gap through which to pass her food. Obviously, this act is to protect her and the unborn chicks from unwanted predator attention, but I secretly think he is just embarrassed by her appearance and doesn’t want the rest of the world to know that his partner is now featherless and looking slightly odd.
Once the chicks have hatched, the female’s feathers begin to grow back, but she will not leave the nest until her feathers are all fully back to normal.
The female is therefore extremely reliable on the male during the incubation period, as without his food supply both her and her chicks would not survive. Let’s just hope the male hornbill is extremely careful when out on his food seaches ….