The Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) also known as Great Indian Hornbill or Great Pied Hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family.
Their habitat is dense old growth forests in hilly regions.The distribution of the species is fragmented over its range in South and Southeast Asia. In South Asia they are found in a few forest areas in the Western Ghats and in the forests along the Himalayas. Their distribution extends into Thailand, Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.
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Largest Asian hornbill species with males larger than females. Males have more pronounced yellow casque than females. Both sexes black with some yellowish- whitish feathers. Back of casque reddish in females, black in males. Males have red iris with black skin surrounding, females white iris with pink or red skin surrounding.
Their calls & wing beats can be heard more than half a mile away.
Casque takes 4-5 years to develop. While casque looks heavy, it is actually light and hollow.
They love to bask in the sun.
Like all arboreal hornbills, female nests in tree cavity with wall made of mud, fruit pulp & poop. Hole big enough for female to fit into & once she’s in she walls herself up for 3 months, leaving narrow opening for male to feed her/brood.
Male defends territory. While walled up, female undergoes complete molt. When chicks & mom too big, mom breaks out with both parents feeding chicks.
Due to frugivorous diet, they’re very important seed dispersers.
Their impressive size and colour have made them important in many tribal cultures and rituals.