Spotting the Malabar Pied Hornbill is not difficult if you are in the vicinity of the Kali River. That flows through the western ghats in Dandeli in Karnataka, India. One of the about 60-odd types of Hornbills, this Hornbill bird is predominant in Dandeli.
In addition to the jungles of Madhya Pradesh and Sri Lanka. Our very short trip in March this year to the Dandeli Jungle resort was an opportunity to sight this amazing bird to our heart’s content.
Malabar Pied Hornbill at Dandeli
A distinguishing feature of the adult birds is the huge black and yellow colored bony hollow structure on their bill called a casque. Casque enables them to resonate with calls. Our noise pollution levels are so high in cities that we may not appreciate how it enables the birds in the dense forests to locate their own. These birds have black and white plumage with a yellow bill. The females have white orbital skin, in simple words look at the photograph below which has a male and female bird. A white-colored ring/patch around the eyes is not seen in males, the bird on top is the female one.
Spotting cashew apples with nuts and wild berries in their bill indicates their primary diets.
We saw a lot of these amazing birds in small groups of 4 to 6, flying across the river, landing on top of the trees, and socializing.
Bird lovers with professional cameras with a decent zoom and time on hand, in the winter season, can capture awesome images of this near-threatened bird species at Dandeli.
Dandeli – Birding destination
You can find a variety of birds around the Kali River basin. These birds distinctly stand out in insight & mind. For me both the welcome and farewell shots, just past Ganesh Gudi were by these Hornbills.
We left the place with the hope to come back again and pray that these birds survive & thrive in these woods. You can view a short video on our youtube channel.
Recommend you to read the following Things to do at Dandeli and nearby Hubli-Dharwad.