Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill

Ocyceros gingalensis

The Sri Lanka grey hornbill is a bird in the hornbill family and a widespread and common endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka.

It is a grotesque looking bird with an enormous decurved beak, long neck and long tail. Both sexes have similar plumage but the beak of the female is dark with a long cream patch on the upper mandible in contrast to the mostly pale yellow beak of the male. Young are similar to adults but have shorter beaks which are pale yellow, completely devoid of any black colour.

The Sri Lanka grey hornbill is a gregarious bird found in forest habitats. It feeds mostly on figs, although occasionally it eats small rodents, reptiles and insects. The female lays up to four white eggs in a tree hole blocked off during incubation with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, barely wide enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and chicks.

These birds usually live in pairs or small flocks consisting up to five birds (2 adults and 2-3 juveniles). They are omnivores observed consuming berries, fruits, insects and small lizards.

The Grey Hornbill is a bird of forest and well wooded areas. It is found both in the wet and dry zones and ascends the hills up to about 1300 meters. In the Dry zone it favors riverine forests though in the Wilpattu National Park it inhabits forest close to the villus as well.


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