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Namdapha National Park, India

(Rhyticeros undulatus)

IUCN status : Least Concern

The Wreathed Hornbill, also known as the Bar-pouched Wreathed Hornbill, is a species of Hornbill found in forests from far north-eastern India and Bhutan, east and south through mainland Southeast Asia and the Greater Sundas in Indonesia. These Asian Hornbills get their name from the wreaths, or ridges around the base of their bill. They are around 75-100 cm in length. Males weigh from 1.8 – 3.65 kg while females weigh from 1.36 – 2.7 kg.

They have a flattened, grooved casque atop their bills. The casque is common to both males and females. When Wreathed Hornbills are young, both genders possess a bright blue throat. However, as these birds mature, the male's throat becomes bright yellow and the female's remains blue. This is a great example of sexual dimorphism, or difference between genders. Wreathed Hornbills are predominantly frugivorous, meaning that they prefer to eat fruit over other foods. They mainly feed on berries, drupes and figs. In their breeding season, they also have been known to feed on beetles and fresh water / land crabs. These birds generally don't drink water from a ground source as they are very arboreal and are rarely seen going to the ground. They get their water from either their food, like the figs they eat in the wild, or from the leaves when it rains.

Wreathed Hornbill has a call with three notes that sounds like oek-uk-uk and is repeated several times. They are excellent seed dispersers; they fly great distances and thus can distribute the seeds via their droppings over large areas. They depend on tall, emergent trees in tropical and subtropical lowland forests that have cavities far up on the trunk for their nests. During the day, Wreathed Hornbills travel far and fly in flocks to communal feeding and bathing sites. At the end of the day, they return to shared roosting sites.

Wreathed Hornbill is monogamous like other Hornbills and follows the same nesting habits by enclosing the female and her chicks in an inescapable hole inside a tree.

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