Thursday, July 19, 2012

>Rhyticeros narcondami (Narcondam Hornbill)

Narcondam Hornbill

Narcondam Hornbill
Conservation status

Endangered (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Species:R. narcondami
Binomial name
Rhyticeros narcondami
Hume, 1873
Location of Narcondam Island
Aceros narcondami
Rhytidoceros narcondami
Rhyticeros plicatus narcondami
The Narcondam Hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) is a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family. It is endemic to the Indian island of Narcondam in the Andamans. Males and females have distinct plumages.


Head of a female (C P Cory, 1901)
The Narcondam Hornbill is a small hornbill at 66 cm long. The males and females differ in plumage. The male has a rufous head and neck, black body and upper parts glossed with green. Females are all black. There is a bluish white neck patch and the tail is white in both sexes. Both males and females have a bill with a few folds on the upper side towards the base of the upper mandible. The skin around the eye is bluish. The iris of the male is orange red while the female has a olive brown with a pale yellow ring. The bill is waxy and the furrows of the casque are brownish. The bill is pinkish towards the base. The legs are black and the sole is yellow.
Adults have a ka- ka- ka call in flight and a ko ... kokoko..ko..kok.. kok.. call at the nest. The young in the nest produce feeble chew calls. Courtship involves ritual feeding. They sometimes mob White-bellied Sea Eagle that fly too close. The favoured nesting trees are Sideroxylon and Sterculia species.
The species was described by Allan Octavian Hume in 1873.

Narcondam hornbill photographed in 2010






Distribution and status

The entire population (estimate of about 200 birds in 1905 and 1984) is restricted to the single island of Narcondam in the Andaman Island chain. The island is clothed in forests and rises to a height of about 2300 feet above sea level and is largely devoid of human presence.The island is often hit by cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal. In 2000, an estimate of 434 birds was made for the population with a density of 54 to 72 birds per square kilometre on the island with an area of about 6.8 square kilometres.Some human presence on the island has also been noted. Since 2009 it has had a Conservation status of endangered. A nest site density of 2.8 pairs per square kilometer has been estimated.
Birds have been maintained in captivity although they have not been bred. In 1972, S. A. Hussain visited Narcondam Island and captured two adult hornbills and their chicks. The two chicks were taken to Bombay as the male died on the ship journey and the female escaped in Madras, never to be found again. The chicks lived for about 6 years and with age the female showed aggression towards the male sibling and in one accident the injury inflicted on the male resulted in death.

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