Digital Dimdima
The Spectacular Hornbill

The most spectacular of the hornbills, this species is distinguished by its large size, resounding call, and the loud swooshing of its wing beats. It has a massive bill with a prominent casque and long rounded wings. The bill, casque, white head, and neck are often stained yellow with oil from the green gland. Mostly confined to the forest canopy, the hornbill moves easily through it with a series of sideway hops. It follows regular routine, visiting certain trees at the same time each day. It feeds mainly on fruits, especially figs, but also preys on reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, and birds. Fruits and small preys are grasped with the tip of the bill and moved down the gullet by throwing the head up and back.

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Large prey is crushed in the bill and battered against a branch before being swallowed. Like other hornbills, this species builds its nest in the natural hollow of a tree trunk, which it seals with mud, leaving only a narrow opening through which the male passes food to the nesting female. The female breaks out the nest after almost 3 months, but the entrance is resealed by the chick, which is fed for a further month in the nest.
Tuhin V Satarkar,
6th A
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Sulochana Natu Vidya Mandir, Pune-16.

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