Indian Grey Hornbill


(Hindi name- Dhanchidi)

The Indian grey hornbill is commonly found across Indian subcontinent. It is a shy bird and can be seen usually in pairs. It is almost arboreal in nature means rarely descends down to the ground.

In this article we will explore where to spot this bird, and learn more about its habits and habitat.

Habitat: Best places to spot Indian grey hornbill

The Indian grey hornbill is found in deciduous forests woodlands, thorn forests, also seen in urban areas such as gardens, parks plantation etc. It is not seen in very dry areas.


The hollows on tall trees are often used as nest. The clutch varies from 2-5 eggs.

Food Habits

The Indian grey hornbill feeds mainly on fruits (especially figs), but also takes insects, lizard, molluscus, scorpions, small birds.

Plumage: How does this bird looks?

Indian grey hornbill’s average length is 61 cms. It is grayish-brown and has a slight trace of pale supercillium. The ear coverts are darker. The flight feathers are dark brown with whitish tip. Its tail has dark sub-terminal band and white tip. The bird has eyelashes on eyelids and the iris is red.


The horn is dark grey or black with a helmet like structure (casque) extending to the point of curvature of the horn. The casque is short and pointed.

The male has dark bill and longer casque. Its culmen and lower mandible are yellowish. Male has darker bare skin around eyes while female has reddish bare skin around eyes. The juveniles lack casque and bare skin around eye is dull orange.


Breeding begins usually at the end of dry seasons-April to June. The female enters the nest and seals the hole using droppings and mud-pellets supplied by the male, leaving a vertical slit through which male feeds her. The female moults her flight feathers and incubates the eggs. The re-growth of the female’s feather coincides with the maturity of the chicks.


Hornbill lives almost completely on trees (arboreal), but rarely descent to ground to pickup fruits or to take dust bath. Also come to ground to pickup mud pellets to seal the nest cavity during nesting. It is usually seen in pairs, but can also be seen in small groups.

It is non-migratory bird.


  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata
  • Class – Aves
  • Order – Bucerotiformes
  • Family – Bucerotidae
  • Genus – Ocyceros
  • Species – O.birostris
  • Binomial Name – Ocyceros birostris

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