A barn owl can consume upto 350 rats and mice in one year. It's spectacularly
acute sense of hearing, and asymmetric ears, enable it to locate mice in near
total darkness. Superbly sensitive binocular vision,a 100 times better than ours,
then locks onto the prey. It flies silently because of soft ,comb like tips of
its wings and its feathered legs muffle wind noise.
Many large bird species may prefer to fly together in formation because it is
the most economical way to travel. Energy expenditure is greatly reduced when birds
fly at an optimal distance from each other.
Different bird species start their morning song at different times. Researchers report
that this may be linked to how well the bird can see in dim light. Birdsong is used
to attract mates and defend territory, but can also draw the attention of predators.
The bird starts singing only when it is confidant that it can spot an approaching
In order to take care of their feathers, birds indulge in dust baths. Dust is both
absorbent and abrasive which cleans the plumage by scouring dirt from the feathers.
Great Pied Hornbill :
They nest in naturally existing holes in trees. The female seals herself up inside the
cavity, using wet mud and faeces to build a wall with a vertical slit, and then proceeds
to moult all her flight feathers. In some cases the male helps to seal her in. She will
be confined to the nest until the chicks are ready to leave. The slit in the wall will be
used by the male to feed the family and for sanitation purposes by the residents.
A large pied bird,(130 cms. without bill) with an enormous, stout yellow and black horn
shaped bill, surmounted by a cumbersome looking casque.|
Nishi tribals in Arunachal Pradesh used hornbill beaks to denote social status. They have
now been persuaded to wear fibreglass hornbill beaks instead!
The local slang name is Malakulukki, which means "mountain shaking" because of its
resonant call reverberating in the forest clad valleys.
With a five and a half foot wingspan, the wingbeat can be heard over half a mile away!
All hornbills are monogamous. They stick with the same mates throughout their lives.
Birds at Inheritance India :
Sightings of the Great Pied Hornbill are very frequent from our estate, sometimes upto 20
of them flying in twos and fours across the valley from one feeding tree to another.
There have also been several sightings at very close quarters.
We have initiated ornithological studies linked with the Aligarh Muslim University,
on the vertical stratification of birds.
The growing checklist includes 108 species as of now, many of them rare and endemic,
including The Great Pied Hornbill, Malabar trogon, Wynaad Laughing thrush, Little
Spiderhunter, Common buzzard, Black Eagle, Brown Hawk Owl and many more.
Click here for the check-list
of birds at the Inheritance India Sites.