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Endangered Species in news: Hornbills

  • IASbaba
  • August 14, 2020
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Endangered Species in news: Hornbills

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Conservation; Endangered species; Protected areas 

Context: 

  • A study based on satellite data has shown a high rate of deforestation in a major hornbill habitat in Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • Satellite data revealed changes in forest cover of the 1,064 sq.km. Papum Reserve Forest (RF) adjoining Pakke Tiger Reserve and part of Assam affected by illegal felling and ethnic conflict. 

Do you know? 

  • Papum RF is a nesting habitat of three species of the large, colorful fruit-eating hornbills: Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied. 
  • The 862 sq.km. Pakke reserve houses a fourth species, the Rufous-Necked. 

Important value additions: 

Hornbills: 

  • India is home to nine species of hornbills: three of them, the wreathed hornbill (Aceros undulatus), the brown hornbill (Anorrhinus austeni) and the Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis) great hornbill is the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh and Kerala. India also has Narcondam Hornbill, found only on the island of Narcondam. 
  • Hornbill festival celebrated in Nagaland is named after the bird – Hornbill which is the most revered and admired bird for the Nagas. 

Do you know? 

  • Hornbills used to be hunted for their casques — upper beak — and feathers for headgear despite being cultural symbols of some ethnic communities in the northeast, specifically the Nyishi of Arunachal Pradesh 
  • But a 20­ year-­old conservation programme entailing the use of fibre­glass beaks reduced the threat to the birds to a large extent. 

Hornbill species: 

1. Great Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Near threatened. 
  • Largest of all hornbills in India. 
  • Found in a few forest areas in Western Ghats and the forests along Himalayas. 

2. Rufous-necked Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable 
  • Has Northern-most extent, ranging from North-eastern India to Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal. 

3. Wreathed Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern 
  • Found in forests from far North-eastern India. 

4. NarcondamHornbill: 

  • IUCN Red List: Endangered 
  • Endemic to Indian island of Narcondam in Andamans. 
  • Smallest home range out of all species of Asian hornbills. 

5. Malabar Pied Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened 
  • Common resident breeder in India and Sri Lanka. 
  • Habitat: Evergreen and moist deciduous forests often near human settlements. 

6. Oriental Pied Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern 
  • Largest distribution, found in the Indian Subcontinent and throughout Southeast Asia. 
  • Habitat: Subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. 

7. White-throated Brown Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened 
  • Found in forests from North-eastern India. 
  • Common habitat: Namdapha National Park, Changlang District, Arunachal Pradesh. 

8. Malabar Grey Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern 
  • Common in the Western Ghats and associated hills of southern India. 

9. Indian Grey Hornbill:

  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern 
  • Habitat: Mainly on the plains up to about 2000 feet, foothills of Himalayas southwards, bounded to west by Indus system and to east by Ganges Delta. 

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