Sunday, March 24, 2019

Malabar Pied Hornbill

When we visited Sri Lanka one of the animals that I really wanted to see was the Malabar pied hornbill. Hornbills have become one of my favorite birds and the bill on this species reaches gigantic proportions. It has a huge bony structure on top of its bill known as a casque which is hollow and amplifies the birds' calls.  
Male Malabar pied hornbill in Udawalawe NP. 
Male and female in Udawalawe.
It is found only in portions of India (central and eastern and southwestern) and Sri Lanka. It is mostly black, but has a white belly, throat patch, tail sides and trailing edge to its wings. The bill is yellow with a large casque that is mostly black. Females have a white ring around their eyes which the males lack. 
Female in Yala NP.
Close-up of the head.
They love figs which are 65% of their diet in the non-breeding season (May to February) and 75% of their diet during breeding season. They also eat other fruits, small mammals, birds, small reptiles and insects. 
It is listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List. 
We had several good sightings. Two were in Udawalawe National Park, one solo male and a couple. We also saw a solo female in Yala National Park. We had a number of other sightings where they were flying or too far away to get good photos. 

1 comment:

  1. Such a BIZARRE bird. I didn't realize that extra piece on top served the function of amplifying its call. Cool.