Those fascinating hornbills – The Hindu

Those fascinating hornbills – The Hindu
Those fascinating hornbills – The Hindu
Natural-growth rainforest are most suited for hornbill populations.

Natural-growth rainforest are most fitted to hornbill populations.
| Photo Credit: Getty Images

The emblem for India’s upcoming G20 presidency was formally unveiled lately on the Hornbill pageant in Nagaland. This well-liked pageant showcases the artwork, tradition and delicacies of Nagaland. It additionally brings consideration to a household of a number of the largest, most luxurious birds in our nation.

The Great Hornbill is discovered within the Himalayan foothills, the Northeast and the Western Ghats. It is the state chook of Arunachal Pradesh and Kerala. With a wingspan of 5 ft, it presents an superior (and noisy) spectacle whereas touchdown on a perch. The wreathed hornbill, the brown hornbill and the rufous-necked hornbill are barely smaller, and solely present in Northeast India. An amazing place to identify the oriental pied hornbill is the Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand. The Malabar gray hornbill’s loud ‘snigger’ echoes within the Western Ghats. The smallest of the group, the Indian gray hornbill is discovered throughout (besides the Thar Desert), and is usually noticed in city settings comparable to Theosophical Society gardens in Chennai.

Their massive, heavy beaks pose some limitations — for stability, the primary two vertebrae are fused. Hornbills can transfer their heads as in ‘sure’, however have issue in saying ‘no’. Large beaks are additionally seen in toucans from Central and South America — an instance of convergent evolution — as each birds have the identical feeding ecology.

Tall bushes most well-liked

Hornbills desire tall bushes for his or her nests (breast peak being 1.5 metres or extra). There is a mutualism between these birds and the bushes the place they nest. As massive fruit-eating birds, hornbills play a significant position in dispersing the seeds of about 80 rainforest bushes. Some bushes, such because the cup-calyx white cedar undergo a 90% decline in seed dispersal past the father or mother tree when hornbill populations decline, negatively impacting the biodiversity of forests.

The towering Tualang tree of Southeast Asia is so entwined in folklore that it’s thought of a taboo to fell this tree. It is the popular habitat of the helmeted hornbill. The fruiting season coincides with the birds’ reproductive cycle. Traditional ecological data stresses the worth of hornbills in dispersing the seeds, that are expectorated from the throats of the birds. “When the seeds sprout, the hornbills hatch”, a saying goes.

Prone to searching

Unfortunately, tall bushes are the primary targets of unlawful logging, and so there was a sluggish decline in hornbill numbers, as mirrored in chook counts. Slow, as a result of these birds are lengthy lived (as much as 40 years). Their massive dimension makes them susceptible to being hunted. The helmeted hornbill of Sumatra and Borneo is critically endangered as a result of its helmet-like casque (a attractive outgrowth over the cranium), referred to as pink ivory, is very prized. Luckily, the casque of the Great Hornbill is just not appropriate for carving.

Hornbill populations seem like faring higher in South India, The Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysuru, has collected information to point out that forest plantations aren’t as fitted to hornbill populations as natural-growth rainforest, though nests are generally inbuilt non-native silver oaks.

The adaptable nature of hornbills can also be seen of their feeding on the fruits of the African Umbrella tree, which has been launched as a shade tree in our espresso plantations.

( The article was written in collaboration with Sushil Chandani who works in molecular modelling. sushilchandani@gmail.com)

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