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PIC: N.A. Naseer

The great hornbill is a fantastic looking bird, and it is said that the whooshing sound of its wings beating can be heard more than half a mile away!

The great hornbill is the largest of the nine Indian and 31 Asian hornbill species. In India, it is found in the rainforests of the Western Ghats and eastern Himalayas.

The hornbill’s bill looks quite heavy and sturdy while in reality it is very light — much like a hard sponge.

This species is famous for the way it nests. Once a hornbill pair has mated, a nesting site, usually a tree hollow, is chosen. Both the male and female hornbills share duties in ensuring that the nest is ready for the eggs. Then the female enters the nest, cleans it and seals herself in using her own excreta. Only a narrow slit is left open so for the male to feed her and the chicks. Once sealed inside, the female sheds her flight feathers and throws them outside.

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