Spotting the Malabar Pied Hornbill is not difficult if you are in the vicinity of Kali River. That flows through the western ghats in Dandeli in Karnataka, India. One of the about 60 odd types of Hornbills, Malabar Pied Hornbill is predominant in Dandeli. In addition to jungles of Madhya Pradesh and Sri Lanka. Our very short trip in March this year to 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 casque. Casque enables them to resonate 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. Malabar Pied Hornbills have black and white plumage with a yellow bill. The females have the white orbital skin, in simple words look at the photograph below that 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 apple with nut and wild berries in their bill indicates their primary diets.
We saw a lot of Hornbills 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 Kali River basin. Malabar Pied Hornbills distinctly stand out in sight & mind. For me both the welcome and farewell shots, just past Ganesh Gudi were by Hornbills.
We left Dandeli with a hope to come back again and a prayer that Malabar Pied Hornbills survive & thrive in these woods. You can view a short video on Dandeli by the river Kali on our youtube channel
Recommend you to read following Things to do at Dandeli and nearby Hubli-Dharwad.