The Great Pied Hornbill

Valparai is a place that I have been visiting for the last 9 years. And every time I visit, the one photograph that I’ve always missed is that of the Great Pied Hornbill (Buceros bicornis). More than one thing fascinates me about this great bird, their sheer size, their vivid colors, the loud sound made by their flapping wings when they fly and their monogamous pairing. This time, I was lucky enough to get different photographs of both the male and the female bird. I have edited an image to bring the male and the female bird to one image with the intention of showing the basic difference in the sexes. Taken at Valparai on the 10th of April, 2014.


Left: Female, Right: Male. Females are smaller than males and have bluish-white instead of red eyes although the orbital skin is pinkish. The most prominent feature of the hornbill is the bright yellow and black casque on top of the massive bill. The back of the casque is reddish in females while the underside of the front and back of the casque is black in males. The males have black marking on white tail and the females have white on black.


2 thoughts on “The Great Pied Hornbill

  1. Lovely pic. I’ve tried but have not succeeded in sighting the Great Indian till date. Your usage of the alternate name stumped me for a moment. Between the picture of the GIB and a name that sounded like the Malabar pied, I was flummoxed! Waiting for your Megamalai report.

  2. Thank you sir! I somehow have always called it Great Pied for unknown reasons. My Meghamalai trip was rather a short one, official trip. I managed to do some birding. Will write soon. Thanks again. Cheers.

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