Indian Grey Hornbill
Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris)
The Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a common hornbill found on the Indian subcontinent. It is mostly arboreal and is commonly sighted in pairs. It has grey feathers all over the body with a light grey or dull white belly. The horn is black or dark grey with a casque extending to the point of curvature of the horn. It is one of the few hornbill species found in urban areas in many cities where they are able to make use of large trees in avenues.
The species is found mainly on the plains up to about 2,000 ft (610 m). It is found from the foothills of the Himalayas southwards, bounded to the west by the Indus system and to the east by the Ganges Delta. It may make local movements in the drier western region. It is found even in cities that have old avenue trees. The species has been observed, usually in pairs, in Dharamsala town (Himachal Pradesh) at about 1500 to 1600 masl during summer and in the rainy season (May to September, 2017). and does not overlap much with the Malabar grey hornbill of the Western Ghats. The nesting season is April to June and the clutch varies from one to five very symmetrical white eggs. Indian grey hornbills usually nest in tree hollows on tall trees. An existing hollow may be excavated further to suit. The female enters the nest hollow and seals the nest hole, leaving only a small vertical slit through which the male feeds her. They are almost completely arboreal, but very rarely descend to the ground to pick up fallen fruits, to dust bathe, or to pick up mud pellets to seal the nest cavity during the nesting period. They indulge in various social activities, including bill-grappling and aerial jousting.