Growing threat to Great Indian Hornbills

A Great Indian Hornbill spotted at Singara in the Nilgiris. Photo: Special arrangement  

Since yore a sight to behold in many parts of the Blue Mountains, a Great Indian Hornbill (Buceros Bicornis) flying from one tree to another, may in a matter of time become extremely rare if habitat loss continues at the rate at which it has been happening for sometime now.

Conservationists concerned

With this concern growing among conservationists in general and birders in particular, a nature enthusiast-cum-wildlife photographer of the Nilgiris, M. Murali, who has been keeping track of Great Indian Hornbills in the district for the past few years, regrets that the magnificent birds which were a common sight in the evergreen rain forests of the Western Ghats are now forced, due to deforestation, to adapt themselves to hollows in silver oak trees which form part of thick coffee plantations in Singara and Moyar and some tea plantations in the lower part of the hills.

Stating that it now takes a great deal of effort and patience to spot a hornbill, he told The Hindu here on Wednesday that those familiar with its characteristics keep their ears open for its take off sound which is akin to the start of the steam locomotive of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Pointing out that the hornbills are mostly dependent on wild berries, he lamented that they were also becoming increasingly hard to come by.

The birds which follow a unique nesting style are also being targeted by poachers for their meat and casques, he said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 10:34:52 PM |

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