I work at a highly fragmented wildlife sanctuary in North Borneo, Malaysia. We have 8 species of hornbills here and from our observation they've grown to be less territorial in terms of where they forage for food. Our friends in the mainland of Malaysia have observed differently - these hornbills are territorial even in the areas they forage, rather than just during breeding season or around their nesting trees.

Do you think the limited resources for space and food where I work force them to be less territorial than their counterparts that live in areas with more forest cover (thus more space and food)?

I'd love to hear or read more observations like this from different areas, if any of you have anything to share.


1 Answer 1


Some personal observations, fishes often become territorial in captivity when they would normally be schooling in the wild. Anyone that has maintained a home aquarium might see unexpected fighting among individuals that otherwise would be aggregating. Two potential influences, lack of predation pressure, limited space, abundant food provided in sharp pulses rather than more distributed in time/space. A caveat is that aggression/territoriality seems to increase with smaller number of individuals. So a fish that is highly aggressive/territorial when a few individuals might become much less so when many are present (possibly a dilution effect, can't fight everyone...)

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