Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) - Wiki
Malabar Grey Hornbill
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Synonyms: Tockus griseus
[Photo] Malabar Grey Hornbill, Ocyceros griseus. Woodcut From W T Blanford. Fauna of British India. Birds.
The Malabar Grey Hornbill, Ocyceros griseus, is a hornbill. Hornbills are a family of tropical near-passerine birds found in the Old World.
The Malabar Grey Hornbill is a common resident breeder in south west India.
This is a gregarious bird mainly of forest habitats. The female lays up to four white eggs in a tree hole, which is blocked off during incubation with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, just big enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks.
The Malabar Grey Hornbill is a large bird, at 45cm in length. It has brown-grey wings, with black primary flight feathers, a grey back, and a whitish crown. The long tail is blackish with a white tip, and the underparts are white. The long curved bill has no casque.
Sexes are similar, but the male has an orange bill, whereas the female's is smaller and yellow. Immature birds have browner upperparts and a yellow bill.
Upper parts dark slaty grey, brownish on the back ; nasal plumes and broad supercilia, extending far backwards, brownish white ; ear-coverts blackish ; feathers of head, crest, throat, and breast with whitish shaft-stripes ; quills black, primaries, from 3rd to 7th, 8th, or sometimes 9th, with broad white tips ; tail-feathers black glossed with green, the three outer pairs white for some distance from the tips ; lower parts ashy grey, paler on the chin and on the abdomen ; vent and lower tail-coverts rufous. Both mandibles are thickened at the side by a kind of incrustation towards the base ; nostrils elongate, in a groove, the posterior portion of which is covered by membrane and overhung by a tuft of feathers. Bill horny yellow, with a brownish-red tinge except towards the tip, dusky or black along the commissure ; irides red-brown ; orbital skin black ; legs and feet greenish. In the female the bill is paler and has black patches on the top of the culmen and at each side of the lower mandible, near the base in both cases. Young birds have dull white or yellow irides.
Length in inches about 24 ; tail 9; wing 8-5; tarsus 175; bill from gape 4-25. Females measure rather less.
A study in the Anamalai area showed that the species used nest sites which had significantly larger trees than in sites without nests. The nest holes were usually found in large trees with hollows caused by heart-rot where a branch had broken off. The nesting season is February to March.
This hornbill is largely arboreal and feeds mostly on fruits such as figs, though it also eats small rodents, reptiles and insects. The flight is slow and powerful.
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