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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.