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Malabar Grey Hornbill or Ocyceros griseus

The birds of Kerala, which constitute a remarkable part of the fauna here, have an amazing variety. Here, one may have a look at small and large birds, brightly coloured, singing birds and birds of many other unique traits.

Endemic to the Western Ghats of Kerala, Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus) is a bird that has won universal attention. This large, fruit-eating bird is confined to the moist forests of the ghats. It is one of the nine species of hornbills found in India. Kerala has four hornbill varieties to its credit. Malabar Grey Hornbill is the most widely distributed species of the state.

The Malabar Grey Hornbill is a large bird, with a length of 45cm. It has brown-grey wings, with black primary flight feathers, a grey back, and a whitish crown. The long tail is blackish with a white tip, and the underparts are white. The long curved bill has no casque.

The main food of these birds is fruits, mainly figs. When they are in flock, they produce loud harsh sounds which resembles human laughter.

Like all other hornbills, the Malabar Grey Hornbill too has unique nesting habits- the female one enters a treehole and seals the entrance using its own excreta leaving only a slit through which the faithful mate feeds it. When the young ones are of age, the female breaks open the cage and comes out. Thereafter the youngs are fed by both the parents.