MNH Director and ornithologist Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez recently was in Kuching City, Sarawak, Malaysia last 16-18 May 2017 as the only Filipino delegate presentor during the 2017 International Hornbill Conference (IHC).

Dr. Gonzalez delivered a paper on "Revisiting the Co-evolution of Hornbills and Mallophagan Lice" which he co-authored with Nathaline P. Fabrigas of Far Eastern University and Perry Archival Buenavente of the National Museum of the Philippines.

According to Gonzalez, the paleotropical hornbills from Africa and Asia harbor 7 genera in 39 species of Amblyceran (Chapinia, Bucerophagus, Bucerocolpocephalum) and Ischnoceran Mallophaga (Buceroemersonia, Bucerophorus, Buceronirmus, Bucorvellus) unique only to Bucerotidae-Bucorvidae. Hence, "identifying drivers in coevolution or co-speciation between mallophagan lice and hornbills is invaluable to understanding parasitism."

Organized by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation and partners, the conference themed "Hornbills Fly Free, Fly High;" is the 7th edition of the specialist conference dedicated to hornbills.

The 8th IHC will be hosted by Bhutan in 2021. In 2013, the 6th IHC was hosted by the Philippines, through the invaluable efforts of Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Hornbill Research Foundation and the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation.

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