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Indian Grey Hornbill | Birds And Me

Indian Grey Hornbill


Indian Grey Hornbill

Scientific Name:  Ocyceros birostris

Indian Grey Hornbill image

Indian Grey Hornbill  Photo by:  Bhratkumar

Bird Type:  Perching Birds    1015  Views


The Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a medium-sized bird, measuring 50 to 60 cm in length and weighing about 370 to 400 grams.
The overall plumage of these hornbill species is grayish. The supercilium is pale and grayish. The base of the large bill, ear coverts and casque are dark. The tip of the tail is whitish with a dark subterminal band.
The lower half of the curved bill is pale yellow. The casque is short and pointed. The tail is long and appears graduated. The irises are dark red and the eyelids have eyelashes. The feet are grayish.


  • 50-50 cm

  • 20-20 Inch

  • gray

  • white  (Bird may have more colors)
  •    ভারতীয় ধূসর ধনেশ
  •    ચિલોત્રો
  •    धनचिड़ी, चलोत्रा, सेलगिल्ली, धनेश
  •    ಬೂದು ಮಂಗಟ್ಟೆ
  •    നാട്ടുവേഴാമ്പൽ
  •    धनेश, राखी शिंगचोचा, मसपील (आदिवासी भाग)
  •    सानो धनेश
  •    କୋଚିଲାଖାଇ
  •    ਧਾਨ ਚਿੜਾ
  •    वार्ध्रीणास, मातृनिंदक
  •    இந்திய சாம்பல் இருவாச்சி

These Indian grey hornbill species are moderately forest dependent. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. They inhabit various dry savanna and forest ecosystems. They inhabit arable lands, rural gardens, tropical and subtropical forests and dry savanna.


fruit, lizards, insects, rodents.


Calls include a loud cackling k-k-k-ka-e, rapid piping pi-pi-pi-pi-pipipieu-pipipieu-pipipieu and kite-like chee-oowww.


The Indian grey hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a common hornbill found on the Indian subcontinent. It is mostly arboreal and is commonly sighted in pairs. It has grey feathers all over the body with a light grey or dull white belly. The horn is black or dark grey with a casque extending to the point of curvature of the horn. It is one of the few hornbill species found in urban areas in many cities where they are able to make use of large trees in avenues.

The Indian grey hornbill is a medium-sized hornbill, measuring around 61 cm (24 in) in length. The upper parts are greyish brown and there is a slight trace of a pale supercilium. The ear coverts are darker. The flight feathers of the wing are dark brown with a whitish tip. The tail has a white tip and a dark subterminal band. They have a red iris and the eyelids have eyelashes. The casque is short and pointed.

The male has a larger casque on a dark bill, and the culmen and lower mandible are yellowish. The bare skin around the eye is dark in the male, but sometimes pale reddish in females. The female has a more yellowish bill with black on the basal half and on the casque. The juveniles lack the casque, and the bare skin around the eye is dull orange.

The call is a squealing call somewhat like that of a black kite. The flight is heavy and involves flapping interspersed with glides. They are found in pairs or small groups.

The nesting season is April to June and the clutch varies from one to five very symmetrical white eggs. Indian grey hornbills usually nest in tree hollows on tall trees. An existing hollow may be excavated further to suit. The female enters the nest hollow and seals the nest hole, leaving only a small vertical slit through which the male feeds her. The nest entrance is sealed by the female using its excreta and mud-pellets supplied by the male. While inside the nest, the female moults her flight feathers and incubates the eggs. The regrowth of the female's feathers coincides with the maturity of the chicks, at which point the nest is broken open.

    Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
    Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
    Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
    Winter visitor
    Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
    known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
    Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
    Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
 colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season