Posts Tagged 'hornbill'

Indian Grey Hornbill—the seed dispersers

Posted by on 07 Aug 2016 | Category: photography, prakriti

There are about 54 species of hornbills in the world, out of which 9 occur in India. The hornbill pictured here is the Indian Grey Hornbill, which is common across the Indian subcontinent, except the wettest (Western Ghats and northeast) and the driest (northwest) parts of the country.

Indian Grey Hornbill, Ocyceros birostris at Pune, Maharashtra

Hornbills have unique breeding habits, where the female confines herself into a nest cavity in a tree, with only a narrow opening through which the male shares the food throughout the nesting period. For the Indian grey hornbills, the total nesting period is about 87 days, where the female is confined to the nest cavity for an average of 76 days. Most of the grey hornbill nests are in hollows of the Mahagony tree family, located nearby riverine habitats. Deforestation, agriculture and other developmental activities have restricted the range of many species like these hornbills.

Grey hornbills as seed dispersers
Hornbills play a key role in seed dissemination, germination and regeneration of trees. This is because they are mainly frugivores (fruit consuming) and can break up/swallow large fruits, and regurgitate the seeds without damaging, making them the perfect dispersers. Since they travel long distances in search of fruits, they are capable of moving these seeds to distant locations.

Grey hornbills are effective seed dispersers for trees such as Premna tomentosa (a teak like tree), Putranjiva, Fern trees and even Sandalwood trees! Many of these are medicinally and commercially valuable trees but they generate very few seeds and propagation depends on birds like these hornbills.

Mid-air play and fight
Like many other hornbills, the grey hornbill has a long curved bill, which has a casque (helmet) on the top. The male hornbills engage in midair clashes where they jar against each other’s casques to establish their dominance and as part of their social play. This behaviour is known as aerial jousting.

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the indian moon moth

Posted by on 07 May 2013 | Category: photography, prakriti

With its large, cherubic features and long trailing tails, the moon moths are one of the prettiest among moths. The Indian Moon Moth belong to the family Saturniidae, commonly known as saturniids, which are among the largest of the moths.

indian moon moth, actias selene

The Indian moon moths are nocturnal or crepuscular – i.e. they favor night or dim/twilight conditions. They are also silk producing moths, and hence tagged as sericigenous. A single cocoon of this moon moth can give continuous fiber of 300 to 350 meters. Silk moths are hence valued based on their voltinism, i.e. the number of broods they produce in an year. The Indian moon moths are trivoltine as they produce up to 3 generations of broods per year.
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