Restaurant owner Suchada Nooklap, 60, told The Phuket News on Saturday (May 5) that the hornbill, which her and her staff have yet to give a name, had been dropping by her restaurant for the past month,
“It’s not scared of people, and tourists cannot resist have their photo taken with it,” Ms Suchada said.
“It’s so comfortable with people we think that it might even have been raised in close contact with humans,” she added.
Ms Suchada made no mention of calling any authorities to take the bird into protective care, instead at this stage choosing to leave the bird, which appears to be unharmed, free to roam.
According to Dave Williams, one of Phuket’s leading ornithologists with decades of experience of bird watching in Phuket and the surrounding area, there are 54 species of hornbill worldwide with 13 species native to Thailand, ranging from the very common Oriental Pied Hornbill to the very rarely sighted Wrinkled Hornbill.
At least eight species are commonly found in Khao Sok National Park, north of Phuket.