On a winter morning, our guests from River Tern Lodge and I went on a jeep safari into the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Once we entered the reserve, we saw peacocks, Chital, Sambar, Gaur and a lot of flora and fauna. While returning from the safari, we were on Canal Road, which leads to the resort. On a fig tree, we saw a flock of Malabar Pied Hornbills feeding on figs, but we also saw a few hornbills sitting on a dry tree very close to our vehicle. It is very difficult to get these birds in the open, so I quickly took out my camera and took a few photos of these beautiful birds.
Because of hunting and habitat loss, these birds are vulnerable to extinction. Depending on their flock size, the size of their home range differs, and is generally large. When hornbills feed on fruits, they regurgitate the seeds when perched on trees. By dispersing seeds of various fruits and berries to a wide home range, these birds are more efficient seed dispersers than smaller fruit-eating birds. Hence, hornbills play a vital role in maintaining the ecology of forests, and are called ‘farmers of the forest’.