The Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) is a large bird in the Bucerotidae family of hornbills. It is also known as the Concave-Casqued Hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, and Great Pied Hornbill. It is categorized as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 2018.
The Great Hornbill has a massive beak or bill, and the top part of the beak is yellow, whereas the bottom part of the beak is white. On top of the bill is a bright yellow and black casque (a boney structure) – the casque is hollow, concave and U-shaped with two ridges. The female has bluish-white eyes and pink skin around the eyes, and the male has red eyes. The male and the female have long eyelashes.
It has black feathers with yellow and white markings. Its long tail is mainly white with a black band.
It is large, growing to 95-130 centimetres (37-51 inches) long, with a 152-centimetre (60-inch) wingspan. It is the heaviest Asian Hornbill, but it is not the longest. The female is smaller than the male.
It is found in the Indian sub-continent with blue-green and in South-East Asia, in countries such as Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. It prefers to live in rainforests, and old, unlogged forests in hilly regions.
It eats fruit, so it’s a frugivore. However, it also preys on small mammals, reptiles, and birds.
The Great Hornbill has often been seen in small groups of 2-40 birds. The males often engage in aerial casque-butting, which means that they try to strike each other in flight.
They mate for life. The female builds a nest in the hollow of a tree and lays 1-2 eggs. She sits on the eggs for 38-40 days. The eggs hatch into young chicks with no feathers and no casque on their bills. By the age of five, the chicks have all of their feathers and a casque.
Its life span in captivity can be nearly 50 years.
Location of photographs: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM