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Casque very large and high, sharp-edged and projecting in front, broader and carried back above the crown behind, the upper border curved and parallel with the commissure. Orbital skin and that on the sides of the throat nude; chin and middle of throat feathered. Tail long and wedge-shaped at the end; wings rounded and short. Plumage of the two sexes similar, but casque differently coloured.
A genus of five or six species, ranging throughout the greater part of the Oriental region. Two species are Indian. Both have the same habits. They are usually found in parties (families) of five or six, and keep to high trees either in forest or in groves in well- wooded country, especially near rivers; they live chiefly on fruit and berries; and are very noisy, making a cackling sound in chorus. Their flight, unlike that of the larger Hornbills generally, is comparatively silent but weak and undulating, and consists of alternate flapping and sailing. The breeding-habits are the same as those of other Hornbills.
Key to the Species
Buceros coronatus, Bodd. Tabl. Fl. Enl. p.53 (1783)
Coloration: Whole head and neck and upper parts throughout, including the wings above and the middle pair of tail-feathers, black glossed with dark green; lower breast, abdomen, lower tail coverts, and all the tail-feathers except the middle pair white, as are broad tips of all quills except the first two primaries and the tertiaries, the bases of the primaries and part of the edge of the wing; under wing-coverts and axillaries black.
The casque is large and compressed, not convex at the sides. Bill and casque are waxen yellow, except the base of both mandibles and a large spot occupying about the anterior three fourths of the upper portion of the casque, which are black. In the male, but not in the female, the back of the casque is black. Irides orange-red in males, brown in females; naked skin blackish round the eye in males, white in females; bare skin on the throat flesh- coloured; legs and feet grey.
Size: Length about 3 feet; tail 12 inches; wing 13’S; tarsus 2’S; bill from gape 7’S. Females rather less As usual Ceylon birds are smaller than those of Orissa and northern Malabar. In the young the basal half of the outer tail-feathers is black, and there is at first no black on the casque, which is small. The nestling, according to Parker, has a brownish-white bar on the black feathers, except on the quills and rectrices.
Distribution: Ceylon, in the dry forests of the low country, woods at the base of the Western Ghats in Malabar as far north as Batndgiri, and the forest-region of south-western Bengal, Orissa, Bastar, and the eastern Central Provinces; not recorded elsewhere.
Habits: The nidification has not been recorded by an eye witness, but, as shown by Legge, Parker, and others, is undoubtedly similar to that of other Hornbills. This bird breeds in Ceylon from March to June and lays 2 to 4 eggs, measuring about 2 by 15.
Buceros malabaricus, Gm. Syst. Nat. 1, p.359 (1788)
Coloration: Similar to that of A. coronatus, except that the four outer pairs of tail-feathers are black for three-fourths of their length and only white for 3 or 4 inches at the tip. The casque is very different in shape, not compressed, but convex at the sides and swollen. The black marks on the bill and casque are different; in males there is a black band running obliquely downwards and backwards from the anterior point; the back of the casque, the base of both mandibles, and part of the commissure are black. In females the back of the casque, the anterior half of the casque, the culmen in front of the casque, and the whole commissure and tips and base of both mandibles are black, and there is a red-brown mark on the lower mandible in front of the black base. The iris is reddish brown; legs and feet plumbeous in both sexes,
Distribution: There are two varieties, distinguished by size alone:
the larger (A. c inhabits the lower Himalayas, as far west as Dehradoon, the
Rajmehal Hills, Midnapore, and parts of Chota Nagpur, where it meets A.
coronatus. It is also found in Assam arid the Khasi and Naga hills, and
measures: length in males about 35 inches, tail iFS, wing i2 tarsus 23, bill
from gape 6; females being rather less. The smaller race, A. albirostris,
ri from Cachar and Manipur to southern Tenasserim, Siam, and Cochin China,
and rne in males: length 285, tail i0 wing 1075, tarsus 2, bill from gape 5;
females somewhat smaller. The difference in weight is considerable, fine
males weighing according to Hume 287 and F75 lbs. respectively.
Habits: Generic. This species has been observed by Mr. Inglis to catch and eat fish; it is also, according to Wardlaw Ramsay, very fond of snakes. It breeds in Burma in March, and lays usually 2 or 3 eggs, measuring about H by i
Casque small, low, rounded, and apparently composed of imbricate plates, covering the basal portion of the culmen, their upper edges forming alternating furrows and ridges, which are curved forward in the middle and backwards at the sides. These ridges are wanting in the very young and increase in number to 7 or 8 with - age. Chin and throat naked, forming a pouch. Commissure much worn in old birds, but not nearly so much broken away as in Aceros. Feathers of crown and nape lengthened and loose textured, forming a crest. Three species occur in the eastern part of our area; the only other form known, 1 plicatus, is Papuan.
Key to the Species
Buceros undulatus, Shaw, Gen. Zool viii, p. 26 (1811)
Basal portion of both mandibles obliquely, somewhat irregularly ridged at the side, in adults; the ridges wanting in the young and increasing in number with age.
Coloration: Male. Forehead, middle of crown, and whole nope deep rich
chestnut, passing into black on the hindneck; sides of head, including
lateral portions of crown, sides and front of neck white, more or less tinged
with buff; tail entirely white; remainder of plumage black, glossed with dark
green and purple.
Length about 45; tail 13; wing 20; tarsus 2’75; bill from gape 9. Tenasserim
birds are smaller than those from Assam: wing 19 bill from gape 8.
Size: Length 38; tail 10; wing 17; tarsus 2 bill from gape 6’S.
Distribution: Assam, Khási and Nága hills Cachar, Manipur, Arrakan, Toungngoo, Tenasserim, Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo.
Habits: Very similar to those of the other large Hornbills. This is a bird of powerful and steady, not undulating flight, and the noise made by its wings when flying may be heard for a very great distance. It lives almost entirely on fruit, and often travels long distances for its food; it not unfrequently associates in consider able flocks when flying. Its call-note is dissyllabic according to Tickell. Like other fruit-eating birds, it wanders about and does not always occupy the same forest tract. it breeds about March, usually laying two eggs, that measure on an average 2’45 by 175.
Buceros subruficollis, Blyth, J.A.S.B. xii, p.177; id. Cat. p.320
This only differs from B. undulatus in smaller size, in having no dark bar across the yellow or blue throat, and especially in the sides of both mandibles being smooth, there being no trace of the grooves that are found on the bills of adult B. i
Size: Length of males about 34; tail 10; wing 16’S; tarsus 2’l; bill from gape 7. Females are smaller: length about 30; wing 14’S; bill 6.
Distribution: Arrakan, Eastern Pegu, and Tenasserim, more common from Moulmein to Tavoy than farther south; also Sumatra and Borneo, and probably the Malay peninsula.
Habits: Similar to those of the last species except that, according to Bingham, this is less of a hill bird. It is generally seen in large flocks, flying low. Oates found birds of this species feeding on snails on the ground in an open plain. Tickell noticed Hornbills of this or the last species bathing in a river in the evening. The eggs have been taken in Pegu and Tenasserim at the end of February and in March; the nest-hole is usually on very high trees and at a great height from the ground, the number of eggs one to three and the size about 2 by 1
Rhyticeros narcondami, Hume, S.F.i, p.411 (1873); ii, pp.108, 176; id.
Cat.no. 146 quat
Coloration: Male. Head and neck rufous; throat a little paler; tail white; remainder of plumage black glossed with dark green. Female. Black throughout except the tail-feathers, which are white.
In both sexes the bill and casque are pale horny yellow, brownish red towards the base; furrows on the casque blackish brown; irides pale red; orbital skin pale smalt-blue; gular skin white, tinged with greenish blue; legs and feet brown.
Size: Length about 26; tail 7; wing 12; tarsus 21; bill from gape 4-8. The female a little smaller.
Distribution: The island of Narcondam, east of north Andaman, Bay of Bengal. Only a single pair are known ; these were obtained by Mr. Hume when he visited Narcondam in 1873.
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