Malabar Pied Hornbill
1/ 2000 sec, f/5.6; E/V -1/3;
Canon 20D, Canon 100-400IS
Date: 18 Feb 2007
Just before the
breeding season, when flocks of hornbills congregate to feed, two males
randomly lock their beaks for a split second in mid-air, during their
flight. They neither exchange food material nor do they fight.
Scientific papers describe this behaviour as 'Billing'. These two birds
were seen flying one above the other when they suddenly changed their
stance, twisted and locked their beaks before they flew off again. The
entire drama did not last for more than a second.
Hornbills range from southern to south-eastern India and can also be
found in Sri Lanka. This big (92cm) hornbill affects deciduous
forests and groves and can often be found in large flocks. Males are
told by their dark eye-skin. Habitat shrinkage and hunting have reduced
numbers putting the species under survival pressure.
Birds of India presentation
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