Narcondam hornbill

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Narcondam hornbill
AcerosNarcondami.svg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Bucerotiformes
Family: Bucerotidae
Genus: Rhyticeros
Species: R. narcondami
Binomial name
Rhyticeros narcondami
Hume, 1873
NarcondamMapSmall.svg
Location of Narcondam Island
Synonyms

Aceros narcondami
Rhytidoceros narcondami
Rhyticeros plicatus narcondami

The Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) is a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family. It is endemic to the Indian island of Narcondam in the Andamans. Males and females have distinct plumages.

Description[edit]

Head of a female (C P Cory, 1901)

The Narcondam hornbill is a small hornbill at 66 cm (26 in) long.[2] The sexes differ in plumage. The male has a rufous head and neck, black body and upper parts glossed with green. Females are all black. There is a bluish white neck patch and the tail is white in both sexes. Both sexes have a bill with a few folds on the upper side towards the base of the upper mandible. The skin around the eye is bluish. The iris of the male is orange red while the female has an olive brown with a pale yellow ring. The bill is waxy and the furrows of the casque are brownish. The bill is pinkish towards the base. The legs are black and the sole is yellow.[2][3]

Adults have a ka- ka- ka call in flight and a ko ... kokoko..ko..kok.. kok.. call at the nest. The young in the nest produce feeble chew calls. Courtship involves ritual feeding. They sometimes mob white-bellied sea eagles that fly too close. The favoured nesting trees are Sideroxylon and Sterculia species.[4][5]

The species was described by Allan Octavian Hume in 1873.[6]

Narcondam hornbill photographed in 2010

Distribution and status[edit]

The entire population (estimate of about 200 birds in 1905[7] and 1984) is restricted to the single island of Narcondam in the Andaman Island chain. The island is clothed in forests and rises to a height of about 2300 feet above sea level. It is largely devoid of human presence.[8] The island is often hit by cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal. In 2000, an estimate of 434 birds was made for the population, with a density of 54[9] to 72 birds per square kilometre on the island, which has an area of about 6.8 square kilometres.[10] Some human presence on the island has also been noted. Since 2009 the Narcondam hornbill has had a Conservation status of endangered.[11] A nest site density of 2.8 pairs per square kilometer has been estimated.[12] Nine species of fruits have been recorded in the diet.[13]

Birds have been maintained in captivity but have not bred. In 1972, S. A. Hussain visited Narcondam Island and captured two adult hornbills and their chicks. The two chicks were taken to Bombay after the male died during the voyage and the female escaped in Madras, never to be found again. The chicks grew and lived for about 6 years but with age, the female showed increasing aggression towards the male sibling, eventually injuring him so badly that he died.[4]

The island of Narcondam has in the past been largely unpopulated. Goats were introduced several times on the island in the past, and a visit in 1991 revealed that feral goats had proliferated around an old police outpost. In 2011 there was a proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a radar station and a diesel power generation station for it on the island. This was opposed due to the threats of increased human activity and disturbance and the threat to a number of endemic island species, including the hornbill. The plan was finally cancelled by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2012.[14][15] However, in the wake of the Chinese monitoring activity in Myanmar's neighbouring Coco Island, the nod for the listening station was granted in June 2014. [16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2008). Aceros narcondami. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
  2. ^ a b Ali, S & SD Ripley (1983). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. Volume 4 (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 139. 
  3. ^ Cory,CP (1902). "Some further notes on the Narcondam Hornbill Rhytidoceros narcondami". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 14 (2): 372. 
  4. ^ a b Hussain,SA (1984). "Some aspects of the biology and ecology of Narcondam Hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami)". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 81 (1): 1–18. 
  5. ^ Blanford, WT (1896). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Birds. Volume 3. Taylor and Francis, London. p. 149. 
  6. ^ Hume AO (1873). "Novelties". Stray Feathers 1: 411. 
  7. ^ Osmaston, BB (1905). "A visit to Narcondam". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 16 (4): 620–622. 
  8. ^ St. John J H (1898). "Some notes on the Narcondam hornbill, Etc. (Rhytidoceros narcondami)". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 12: 212–214. 
  9. ^ SACON. "Roosting ecology and diet of the Narcondam Hornbill Aceros narcondami at Narcondam Island Sanctuary, A & N Islands, India". Annual Report 2002-2003. Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History. pp. 11–12. 
  10. ^ Yahya, H. S. A.; Zarri, A. A. (2002). "Status, ecology and behaviour of Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami) in Narcondam Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India". J Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 99 (3): 434–445. 
  11. ^ Hussain,SA (1991). "Some urgent considerations for the conservation of Narcondam Island". Newsletter for Birdwatchers 31 (5&6): 6. 
  12. ^ Datta, A & GS Rawat; Rawat (2004). "Nest-site selection and nesting success of three hornbill species in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India: Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis, Wreathed Hornbill Aceros undulatus and Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris". Bird Conservation International 14: S39–S52. doi:10.1017/S0959270905000213. 
  13. ^ Yahya, H. S. A.; Zarri, A. A. 2002. Status, ecology and behaviour of Narcondam hornbill (Aceros narcondami) in Narcondam Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99: 434-445.
  14. ^ "Permission for installation of Coastal surveillance RADAR and power supply source at Narcondam Island Sanctuary, Reg.". Ministry of Environment and Forests. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Raman, T. R. Shankar; Mudappa, Divya; Khan, Tasneem; Mistry, Umeed; Saxena, Ajai; Varma, Kalyan; Ekka, Naveen; Lenin, Janaki; Whitaker, Romulus (2013). "An expedition to Narcondam: observations of marine and terrestrial fauna including the island-endemic hornbill". Current Science 105 (3): 346–350. 
  16. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/developmental-issues/green-nod-for-radar-station-at-narcondam-in-andamans/articleshow/36411949.cms

External links[edit]