I thought it would be easy to spot a big bird at Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary (also known as Salim Ali Sanctuary) but I was wrong! The Malabar Grey Hornbill, a must-see South India endemic, preferred a sheltered spot very high up on a tree! Fortunately, hornbills are big, hence despite that its high up feasting on figs, a reasonable photo could still be taken.. It’s supposed to have an hysterical crackling call but I never got to hear it! But the Malabar Grey Hornbill had a cheeky look. 🙂
Luckily, we got to see this big bird again the next day while on a pitta hunt. The second picture was taken at eye level…!
The Malabar Grey Hornbill was not the only hornbill we saw at Kerala. Equally excited as us, our guide spotted the rare Malabar Pied Hornbill. As he called out in a quivering voice with excitement, I knew we’re in for a rarity! Despite it is distributed in both India and Sri Lanka, the Malabar Pied Hornbill is classified as Near Threatened species under its conservation status. At first sight, it looked pretty similar to the Oriental Pied Hornbill, but its easily differentiated by the black casque on the Malabar Pied Hornbill. 🙂 According to the guide, its a very rare record in Kerala.
Surely birds with the name starting with “Malabar” is an endemic to the Malabar region! Apart from these two Malabar bird species, there’s the Malabar whistling thrush- click here, and also this cute Malabar Parakeet! 😛