About Hornbill Watch

About Hornbill Watch

  • Hornbill Watch is an online platform created to record public sightings of hornbills from anywhere in India.
  • Hornbill Watch was launched in 2014 by Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and Conservation India (CI).
  • It is a citizen science project to encourage birders, nature enthusiasts, and photographers to share information on hornbill presence, behaviour, and conservation-related issues.
  • The primary objective of the initiative is generating baseline information using sight records.
  • It is aimed at enabling long-term monitoring of hornbills in India.

Significance of the Initiative

  • Hornbills are slow breeding group of birds.
  • Thus, they are vulnerable to threats from anthropogenic pressures like hunting and deforestation.
  • There is a significant knowledge gap about their distribution, population size, and adaptations to rapidly changing habitats.
  • Furthe,r most research and conservation efforts are often focused on single or few species within protected areas.
  • Besides, currently data collection efforts focusing Hornbills were restricted to experienced birders.
  • Thus, a citizen initiative reaches out to a larger demographic with contributions coming in from photographers and lay people.

Report card of Hornbill Watch

  • Between June 2014 and February 2017, Hornbill Watch received 938 records from 430 contributors across India.
  • Most sightings were reported from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh.

Species Occurrence

  • India is home to nine hornbill species.
  • The Indian Grey Hornbill was the most reported species (249 records) followed by the Great Hornbill (218).
  • The rare species include Austen’s Brown Hornbill (19), and the endangered Narcondam Hornbill (17).


  • Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu had the highest number of hornbill reports followed by the two north-eastern Indian states of Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Hornbills were reported from both inside (41%), and outside Protected Areas (59%).
  • Further Hornbills were reported from 70 Pas with Namdapha and Manas are reported to have 4 hornbill species.

Indian Grey Hornbill

  • The most reported Indian Grey Hornbill is widespread in India except in north-eastern India.
  • Habitats range from savanna to urban landscapes.

The Great Indian Hornbill

  • Found mostly in moist deciduous and evergreen forests of the Himalayan foothills and the Western Ghats.

Rare Species

  • Narcondam hornbill
  • It is an endangered species restricted to an area of 6 sq.km. of the Narcondam Island in the Andamans.

  • The Vulnerable or near threatened species such as the rufous-necked hornbill, the Austen’s brown hornbill and the great hornbill were observed in several States in northeastern India.

About Hornbills

  • Hornbills are the large birds found in the tropical forests of Asia and Africa.
  • Most Asian species are primarily frugivores.
  • Ecologically they play a critical role as seed dispersers.
  • Thus they enable regeneration of important food plants and help maintain the diversity in tropical forests.
Section : Environment & Ecology

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