Great Indian Hornbill

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 19, 2022, 6:03

The Great Indian Hornbill, also known as the Great Hornbill, Concave-Casqued Hornbill, or Great Pied Hornbill, is found in the Indian subcontinent and many countries of Southeast Asia. They are important to many Indian tribes. This colourful bird is hunted for its meat, fat and body parts, including tail feathers and casque. These parts are also used as adornments. However, the flesh is believed to be used for medicinal purposes in some tribes, and the heads and beaks are used in charms.

The hornbill's disposition can be described as frugivorous, but it is opportunistic and prey on smaller birds, reptiles, and mammals. The bird is long-lived and is found to be living in captivity for more than 50 years by consuming small lizards, nestlings, and eggs. These birds are also known to scavenge on rodents and have a life of up to 15 years.

The Great Indian Hornbill - Fun Facts

  • The white feathers cover its wingtip, and the black feathers are wrapped around its entire body.
  • The bird can grow as long as up to 4.5 ft.
  • Its yellow bill is curved downward.
  • Black feathers surround the whitetail. The tail can grow as long as up to 3 ft.
  • The birds are best known for their nesting ritual. Once the mating is over, the female Hornbill seals herself in the hollow space of the tree, with the dung of mud and wood bark.
  • During this reproduction period, the female bird undergoes a complete moult and remains imprisoned as they rely on the mail birds to bring their food.
  • The hornbills predominantly prey on small birds, reptiles, and mammals.
  • One can also spot them in Arunachal Pradesh and the Western Ghats.
  • They are majorly found in India, Bhutan, Mainland Southeast Asia, Nepal, and Sumatra, the island of Indonesia.
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Types of Great Indian Hornbills Found in India

There are nine species of Hornbill in India and adjoining boundaries of Asian countries. The most common species of great Indian Hornbill widespread in India is the Indian Grey Hornbill. However, around 54 species of Hornbill are estimated and noted for their presence on the Earth.

Predators of Hornbill:

Humans beings are one of the major predators of this unique species of bird. However, the rapid decrease in their population is witnessed because of other animals eating the Great Indian Hornbill, including Eagles and Owles. The endangered species, Great Indian Hornbill, are majorly threatened by habitat loss and hunting as they require primary forest to reside. It is the main reason why only the Asian hornbills are seriously threatened, but not the African species of Hornbill.

The rarity of the Great Indian Hornbills:

If the Great Indian Hornbill's (Buceros Bicornis) habitat loss continued at a rapid pace, just like it is perceived to be happening for some time now, in a matter of years, these birds will become extremely rare.

The farmers of the forests, the Great Indian Hornbill are capable of commuting over long distances. Predominantly, living in the tropical forests of Africa and Asia, these unique birds hold utmost importance in the dispersal of seeds and plants reproduction.

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FAQs on Great Indian Hornbill

Q.1. What is Special About the Great Indian Hornbill?

One of the unique aspects of the Great Indian Hornbill is the heavy bill supported by the strong neck muscles and the fused vertebrae. The massive bill of these birds helps them catch prey, fight, construct the nest, and preen.

Q.2. The Great Indian Hornbill is the State Bird of Which Indian State?

Hornbill is the state bird of Kerela, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Chin State of Myanmar. The Great Indian Hornbill are hunted in India by some tribes for fulfiling food and medicinal purposes. However, due to the massive hunting in some areas, these birds are categorised as 'Near Threatened' species under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Q.3. Where can you Find Great Indian Hornbill in Kerela?

The only location where you can find all the Indian species of the great Indian hornbills is the low-elevation riparian forest of Athirappilly - Vazhachal - Nelliyampathy. Here, you can find the Indian Grey Hornbill, the Great Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, and Malabar Grey Hornbill.

Q.4. What other names is the Great Indian Hornbill known by?

The Great Indian Hornbill is also known as the Great Hornbill, Concave-Casqued Hornbill, or Great Pied Hornbill.