Malabar Pied Hornbill - Natasha Ballal.
Dandeli has always been known as great place to sight the 4 hornbills. Dandeli- Anshi Tiger Reserve is the second largest reserve in Karnataka.
* The woods of dandeli are known to inhibit four different types of hornbills; Common Grey hornbill, Malabar Grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and Great pied hornbill.
The Malabar pied hornbill is found in good numbers. The Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) and Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) are endemic to the Indian subcontinent whereas the Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) is endemic to Western Ghat. Hence, the Malabar pied Hornbill is protected under the Wildlife Act (schedule 1) .It has been declared near threatened by the Birdlife International.
They have a very unique and beautiful nesting behaviour.
The male and female select a suitable nest hold. Once this is done, the female enters into the hold and seals it by using a sticky paste made from her own droppings mixed with twigs and other waste materials. The female hornbill uses her large beak for this cementing process. She covers the hold almost completely, leaving a small opening just wide enough to put her beak out for food. The male hornbill meanwhile travels over a distance of several kilometers within the forest in search of food, which he then passes on to his female through the nest opening. And thus the days go by, with the female laying her eggs inside her cozy habitation. The eggs are hatched over a period of six to eight weeks. The slightest disturbance at the nest site can result in the male refusing to feed the nest inmates, thus threatening the survival of the female and chicks.
A hornbill trail has been set up at the timber depot in Dandeli, to let people explore the world of hornbills. Recognizing their significance, Dandeli has been declared a Hornbill Conservation Reserve.
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