🎉 Create your Pet's Online Profile today on Superr Pets. 🎁

The Great Indian Hornbill: A Cultural Icon and Ecological Treasure

October 6, 2023

The great Indian hornbill (Buceros bicornis) is one of the most majestic birds in India. It is a large bird, with a wingspan of up to 4.5 feet, and a crown of feathers. Its bright yellow beak and distinctive red-and-white crest make it a beautiful sight. It is an important symbol of India's rich culture and heritage.

At SuperrPets, we are happy to introduce you to the rarest animals and birds that exist in different corners of the world. We bring you their story citing the character that makes them special to humankind. Our SuperrBytes keeps you engaged with our amazing pet content whereas our merchandise and home decor collection is pure pet love; pet-patterned t-shirts, oversize tees and much more. Explore SuperrPets Shop for exclusive designs.

Let’s delve into this special character’s personality below:

Habitat and Behavior

The great Indian hornbill lives in tropical and subtropical forests of India. It prefers to stay in pairs or small groups, and is usually seen perched on branches or flying through the forest. This species is majorly frugivorous, and feeds on raw fruits, shoots, roots, nuts and seeds. They also prey on reptiles, birds and small vertebrates. It is also a vocal bird, and can be heard making loud honking calls.

During the breeding season, male Great Indian Hornbills engage in elaborate courtship displays to attract a mate. These displays typically involve a series of calls and wing flaps, as well as the presentation of food to the female. Once a pair has bonded, the male will help to build a nest in a tree cavity, while the female incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks.

In addition to courtship displays, male Great Indian Hornbills may also engage in territorial behavior, including fighting with other males in order to defend their territory. These fights can be quite dramatic, with the birds using their strong beaks and powerful wings to attack one another.

Despite their impressive size and strength, they are not typically aggressive towards humans and tend to avoid contact with people. However, they may become more territorial during the breeding season, and it is important to respect their space and give them plenty of room to nest and raise their young. It is also the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh and Kerala; it is considered the king of the forest in many tribal communities.

Cultural Significance of the Great Hornbill

The great hornbill has long been a symbol of power and strength in many cultures. It is seen as a symbol of courage and resilience, and is often associated with bravery and heroism. It is also seen as a symbol of wisdom and intelligence, and is often depicted in artwork and literature as a wise and knowledgeable being.

The great hornbill is said to be a messenger of the Gods in many cultures, especially in Indian and Southeast Asian mythology. According to legend, the great hornbill is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. It is said to bring luck and blessings to those who encounter it. The great hornbill is also believed to be a messenger of peace, as it is said to bring harmony to those who encounter it.

In some legends, the Great Indian Hornbill is said to possess the power to bring good luck and prosperity to those who observe it. It is also believed to be a guardian of the forests and a protector of the natural world.

In Nagaland, the Great Indian Hornbill is a popular subject of traditional art, often depicted in carvings, paintings, and other forms of artistic expression. It is also an important cultural symbol, featured prominently in many of the region's traditional festivals and celebrations, the biggest of which is named after the bird. The Hornbill Festival is incomplete without its namesake bird, as mysterious as the stories it has inspired. Its distinctive, mustard-yellow beak curves downward in a hook, and its black, white, and yellow plumage is majestic. Unfortunately, the Great Hornbill is now critically endangered.

Endangered Status

Unfortunately, the great Indian hornbill is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. This is due to the destruction of its natural habitat, as well as hunting and trapping for its feathers and other body parts. Conservation efforts are needed to protect the great Indian hornbill and its habitat.

Key characteristics of the Great Indian Hornbill:

  1. Impressive Size: The Great Indian Hornbill is one of the largest hornbill species, with males measuring around 90 to 120 centimeters (35 to 47 inches) in length and females slightly smaller.
  2. Striking Plumage: It boasts striking plumage, with a predominantly black body and wings, contrasted by white feathers on the belly. The most distinctive feature is its bright yellow and black casque on top of its large bill.
  3. Prominent Casque: The casque is a hollow structure on top of its bill, which serves both ornamental and practical purposes. It amplifies the bird's calls and is also used in combat between males during mating displays.
  4. Fruit-Eating Diet: Their diet consists mainly of fruits, particularly figs, but they also eat small mammals, birds, insects, and sometimes even small reptiles. They play a vital role in forest ecology by dispersing seeds in their droppings.
  5. Unique Breeding Behavior: Hornbills are known for their unique breeding behavior. They create nests in tree hollows, typically sealing the female inside with a mixture of mud and droppings during the incubation period. The male feeds her through a small opening until the chicks are ready to fledge.
  6. Distinctive Calls: Great Indian Hornbills are known for their loud, distinctive calls that sound like a series of cackles and yelps. These calls are often heard echoing through the forests during the breeding season.
  7. Symbolic Importance: The Great Indian Hornbill is culturally significant in some indigenous communities and is considered a symbol of good luck and protection in certain cultures.
  8. Long Lifespan: In the wild, they can live for up to 35-40 years, making them one of the long-lived bird species.

The great Indian hornbill is a beautiful and majestic bird, and an important symbol of India's rich culture and heritage. Conservation efforts, such as creating protected areas and promoting sustainable forestry practices, are hoped to help the Great Indian Hornbill thrive in its native range for generations to come. This species holds a special place in the culture and traditions of the region.

Related Read: Snow Leopards: The Ghosts of the Himalayan Mountains

SuperrPets: Give identity to your pets

We are proud to be India’s first unified pet platform where you can register a pet to give it a unique identity. Build your unique pet profile on SuperrPets and connect with thousands of pet enthusiasts. Share your pet picture, update their information and much more.

Get early access and share with other pet lovers!

Don’t forget to follow us on social: