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The Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) also known as Great Indian Hornbill or Great Pied Hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family – its impressive size and colour have made it important in many tribal cultures and rituals. In fact, these tribes can threaten the Great Indian Hornbills with their desire for its various parts. The beaks and head are used in charms and the flesh is believed to be medicinal. The squabs are considered a delicacy. Tribesmen in parts of northeastern India and Borneo use their feathers for head-dresses, and their skulls are often worn as decorations. Their flesh is considered unfit for eating by the Nagas with the belief that they produce sores on their feet as in the bird. A great Indian hornbill’s casque, the hollow structure located on the top of the bill, is its most recognisable feature. Males will use this to fight with other males and/or attract females. Females are smaller than males and have bluish-white instead of red eyes although the orbital skin is pinkish. These birds have a unique way of nesting. The female will select a tree in which she will care for her eggs. Then, she will take her own feces, as well as those of her mate, and cover the entrance into the tree, only leaving a little hole open so that they male can provide her with food. After the young are about five weeks old, the female will leave the tree to assist her mate in finding food, but the young will reseal themselves inside the tree. The distribution of the species is fragmented over its range in South and Southeast Asia. In South Asia they are found in a few forest areas in the Western Ghats and in the forests along the Himalayas. Their distribution extends into Thailand, Burma, Malaya and Sumatra. Their habitat is dense old growth (unlogged) forests in hilly regions.
Great Indian hornbillGreat Indian hornbillGreat Indian hornbill