Great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) complete detail – updated. Description of Great hornbill (Buceros bicornis). Classification of Great hornbill (Buceros bicornis). Distribution of Great hornbill (Buceros bicornis). Habit and habitat of Great hornbill. Generally found in the canopy of the rainforest and wet, tall, evergreen forests.
Size between 90 cm to 130 cm. The weight of adult is between 2.5 kg. to 4.0 kg., and have a wingspan of 145 cm. to 170 cm. They are usually seen in small groups or in pairs. The male spreads the preen gland secretion, which is yellow, onto the primary feathers and bill to give them the bright yellow color. Male has a huge yellow and black U-shaped casque on the upper base of the bill and the fore crown, double-pointed at front and bordered with black……………
Nesting and breeding season occurs between January and April. The mating process of the Great Hornbills sometimes begins with males clashing and butting casques in mid-air in order to “win” a mate. When the female is ready to lay eggs, she will climb into an empty tree hole.
Great hornbill has been classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
Size between 90 cm to 130 cm. The weight of adult is between 2.5 kg. to 4.0 kg., and have a wingspan of 145 cm. to 170 cm. They have long, heavy bills with a light, hollow casque reaching up to 8 inches on the upper mandible.
Upper-wings are black with white coverts forming a conspicuous wing-bar. The flight feathers are broadly tipped white and the under-wings are black and white with black coverts, and black flight feathers with white bases and tips.
Male has black and white plumage with some white parts washed yellow. This is due to the oily exudation produced by the uropygial gland when the bird is preening. It rubs its head against the gland situated at the upper base of the tail, and transfers this oil to its plumage.
The male spreads the preen gland secretion, which is yellow, onto the primary feathers and bill to give them the bright yellow color. Male has a huge yellow and black U-shaped casque on the upper base of the bill and the fore crown, double-pointed at front and bordered with black.
The long, down-curved bill has yellowish upper mandible with reddish tip, and paler lower mandible, rather whitish at base with yellow tip. Both mandibles are serrate. They have white lower belly, upper and under-tail-coverts and tail. The neck is creamy-white to buff-yellow.
Females are smaller than males and have bluish-white instead of white eyes with red eye-ring, becoming brighter during the breeding season, although the orbital skin is pinkish.
Great hornbills are sexually dimorphic with the female having a pearly white iris and pink to bright red bare circum-orbital skin. The male has a deep red iris with the skin surrounding the eye being black.
Common Name – Great hornbill
Local Lame – Banrao
Zoological Name – Buceros bicornis
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Aves
Order – Bucerotiformes
Family – Bucerotidae
Subfamily – Bucerotinae
Genus – Buceros
Conservational Status – Schedule – I according to wildlife (Protection) act, 1972 and classified as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN.
The Great Hornbill 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. They are breeding residents in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
Habit and habitat
Generally found in the canopy of the rainforest and wet, tall, evergreen forests. They can find shelter in the holes of the trees, and may cover large areas of the forest in a single day in search of food.
They occurs up to 2000 meters in the Himalayas, and usually from lowlands up to 1500 meters of elevation.
Great hornbills are usually seen in small groups or in pairs, occasionally in larger groups.
The flight is noisy, producing a loud, scraping noise both in flapping and gliding. The flight involves stiff flaps followed by glides with the fingers splayed and up curled. They sometimes fly at great height over forests. Wing beats are heavy and the sound produced by birds in flight can be heard from a distance. This sound has been likened to the puffing of a steam locomotive starting up.
Generally, they feed on fruits, but they also feed on small mammals, birds, small reptiles, and insects.
They produce loud, nasal, honking call “tok”, repeated at regular intervals while the bird stretches the neck vertically up with the bill pointed upwards. They gives deep, hoarse grunts, barks and roars. It is more vocal and noisy when the breeding season starts.
Nesting and breeding season occurs between January and April. They prefer mature forest and Old-growth trees that extend beyond the height of the canopy, for nesting. During the breeding season great hornbills become very vocal.
Female hornbill builds a nest in the hollow of a large tree trunk, sealing the opening with a plaster made up mainly of feces. Female remains imprisoned there, relying on the male to bring her food, until the chicks are half developed. During this period the female undergoes a complete moult.
The mating process of the Great Hornbills sometimes begins with males clashing and butting casques in mid-air in order to “win” a mate. When the female is ready to lay eggs, she will climb into an empty tree hole.
Eggs 1 or 2, incubated by female for 35 to 40 days. The female emerges before the young fledge. The young birds seal the entrance again and are fed by both parents. They fledge between 70 and 100 days. The average lifespan of Great hornbill is between 30 to 40 years.