Species in News: Narcondam Hornbill


  • Recently, a wildlife photographer caught a first glimpse of the Narcondam hornbill with its velvet­ black plumage and over­sized yellow beak.

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About the Hornbill

  • An endangered species, the bird is endemic to the Narcondam Island in Andamans.
  • The hornbills are role ­model parents and also have unique nesting habits.
  • Though the birds are frugivores that primarily eat fruits and berries, during breeding, the males also bring insects, worms, owl kills, giant squirrels and rats to meet the high protein requirement of the chicks.
  • It is closely related to Blyth’s hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus) and Wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus).
  • The Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA)of these hornbill species in India is the Narcondam Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The natural ecosystems of these species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forestsopen mixed forests and tropical and sub-tropical moist shrublands.
  • The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)status is ‘Evaluated’ for the Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) and is listed in Appendix II.
  • The species is recognised as endangered in the IUCN Red List and is protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act of India granting it the highest level of protection in Indian Laws.
  • Other Hornbill-Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill (both endemic to the Western Ghats), the Great hornbill and the Indian grey hornbill.

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