Hornbills are distinguished from most other avian taxa by the presence of a casque on the dorsal maxillary beak, which, in all but 1 of the 54 extant hornbill species, is described as essentially an air-filled cavity enclosed by minimal cancellous bone. The external casque has been described in detail, but little has been described about its internal anatomy and the communications between the casque and the paranasal sinuses. In this study, 10 intact casque and skull specimens of 7 hornbill species were collected opportunistically at necropsy. The anatomy of the casque and the skull for each of the specimens was examined by radiography, contrast radiography, and computed tomography. After imaging, 8 specimens were submitted for osteologic preparation to directly visualize the casque and the skull interior. Through this standardized review, the baseline anatomy of the internal casque was described, including identification of a novel casque sinus within the paranasal sinus system. These observations will assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the casque in hornbill species.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1