Narcondam hornbill

   ›      ›   Narcondam hornbill - Rhyticeros narcondami

The Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) belongs to the family of hornbills, Bucerotidae.

The Narcondam hornbill species are endemic to Narcondam Island, part of the Andaman Islands, India. These hornbill species are listed as Endangered by IUCN and now less than 250 mature birds are living. These hornbills are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Narcondam Hornbill Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Narcondam hornbill - Overview

  • Scientific name: Rhyticeros narcondami
  • Species author: Hume, 1873
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Rhyticeros narcondami A. O. Hume, 1873
  • Family: Bucerotidae › Bucerotiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Narcondam hornbill, Chinese: 拿岛皱盔犀鸟, French: Calao de Narcondam, German: Narcondamhornvogel, Spanish: Cálao de la Narcondam, Russian: Наркондамский калао, Japanese: ヒメシワコブサイチョウ
  • Other names: Narcondam Wreathed Hornbill
  • Distribution: Endemic to Narcondam Island, India
  • Diet and feeding habits: fruits, berries, figs
  • IUCN status listing: Endangered (EN)
The Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) is closely related to Blyth's hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus) and wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) is a small hornbill, measuring 45 to 50 cm in length.

The Narcondam hornbill are sexual dimorphic, both in size and plumage. The male is slightly larger and weighs 700 to 750 grams. The female bird weighs 600 to 750 grams. The overall plumage is blackish. These species appear like a miniature version of Blyth's hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus).

The male hornbill upperparts are black with green gloss. The male has rufous head, neck and upper breast. The rest of the underparts are black. The male has orange red irises. The female is totally black. In female, the irises are olive brown.

There is a pale blue gular pouch and short white tail in both the sexes. The bare skin around the eyes is bluish. The juveniles look similar to males and have dull-looking bills without folds.

The base of the bill is pinkish. The upper mandible has folds near the base. The furrows of the casque are brownish. The legs are blackish and the soles are yellow. Their call is a loud, harsh cackling “ka-ka-ka-ka” sound.
Indian birds - Photo of Narcondam hornbill - Rhyticeros narcondami
Birds of India - Photo of Narcondam hornbill - Rhyticeros narcondami
Photo by Kalyan Varma | GFDL 1.2

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These hornbill species are distributed in Narcondam, a small dormant volcanic island in the Andaman Sea, forming part of Andaman Islands. It covers 6.8 sq. kilometers. The Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of these hornbill species in India is the Narcondam Island Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ecosystem and habitat

These Narcondam hornbill species are highly forest dependent. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 700 meters.

The natural ecosystems of these species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, open mixed forests and tropical and subtropical moist shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these Narcondam hornbill species is mostly fruits. Wild fruits, berries, figs, invertebrates and small reptiles are their primary food.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these Narcondam hornbill species is from February to April. The nesting sites are located in mature, undisturbed forests with large trees.

These hornbill species nest in holes and hollows in trunks and broken branches in large trees. The favored nesting trees are, bully trees (Sideroxylon spp.) and tropical chestnuts (Sterculia spp.).

These birds are monogamous. The female hornbill seals herself in the tree hollow with faeces and fruit pulp. A small slit is left open for male to pass on the feed for the female and later the chicks.

During this time, the female sheds her flight feathers and is incapable of flight. The typical clutch contains two eggs. Though these birds have been maintained in captivity, so far, there has been no success in captive breeding.

Migration and movement patterns

The Narcondam hornbill species are non-migratory resident birds.

Post breeding, the hornbill juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) is estimated to be around 50 to 250 individual birds. The overall population trend of these hornbill species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be common. The generation length is 19 years. Its distribution size is about 7

The Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) has approach the thresholds for being Endangered, under the range size criterion, under the population trend criterion and also under the population size criterion. The ongoing habitat destruction, persecution by introduced cats and hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these hornbill species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the species and has listed it as "Endangered". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Evaluated’ for the Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) and is listed in Appendix II.
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Rhyticeros narcondami
Species:R. narcondami
Binomial name:Rhyticeros narcondami
IUCN status listing:
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Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Kalyan Varma | License: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
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