Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
CITES Appendix II. It is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and Narcondam Island is a wildlife sanctuary. Goats have been removed, although local reports suggest this may not have been completely successful (K. Sivakumar in litt. 2012). Strict instructions not to hunt the species have been issued to the personnel on the island. In 1992, the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) began preliminary surveys of the avifauna on the Andaman Islands, with an emphasis on several target species, including Narcondam Hornbill.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor the population regularly. Completely remove all remaining goats from the island (K. Sivakumar in litt. 2012). Provide cooking fuel to the island's inhabitants to eliminate their requirement for fuelwood. Carefully investigate the possibility of establishing a second population on another suitable island in the Andamans in case of a serious population decline or natural disaster. Consider providing nest boxes to increase the availability of nest sites. Plant additional fig trees to encourage forest regeneration. Reduce illegal hunting through environmental education and strict enforcement of the Wildlife Protection Act. Develop a long-term species recovery plan (K. Sivakumar in litt. 2008).
The Narcondam hornbill (Rhyticeros narcondami) is a species of hornbill in the Bucerotidae family. It is endemic to the Indian island of Narcondam in the Andamans. Males and females have distinct plumages.
The Narcondam hornbill is a small hornbill at 66 cm (26 in) long. The sexes differ in plumage. The male has a rufous head and neck, black body and upper parts glossed with green. Females are all black. There is a bluish white neck patch and the tail is white in both sexes. Both sexes have a bill with a few folds on the upper side towards the base of the upper mandible. The skin around the eye is bluish. The iris of the male is orange red while the female has an olive brown with a pale yellow ring. The bill is waxy and the furrows of the casque are brownish. The bill is pinkish towards the base. The legs are black and the sole is yellow.
Adults have a ka- ka- ka call in flight and a ko ... kokoko..ko..kok.. kok.. call at the nest. The young in the nest produce feeble chew calls. Courtship involves ritual feeding. They sometimes mob white-bellied sea eagles that fly too close. The favoured nesting trees are Sideroxylon and Sterculia species.
Distribution and status
The entire population (estimate of about 200 birds in 1905 and 1984) is restricted to the single island of Narcondam in the Andaman Island chain. The island is clothed in forests and rises to a height of about 2300 feet above sea level. It is largely devoid of human presence. The island is often hit by cyclonic storms in the Bay of Bengal. In 2000, an estimate of 434 birds was made for the population, with a density of 54 to 72 birds per square kilometre on the island, which has an area of about 6.8 square kilometres. Some human presence on the island has also been noted. Since 2009 the Narcondam hornbill has had a Conservation status of endangered. A nest site density of 2.8 pairs per square kilometer has been estimated. Nine species of fruits have been recorded in the diet.
Birds have been maintained in captivity but have not bred. In 1972, S. A. Hussain visited Narcondam Island and captured two adult hornbills and their chicks. The two chicks were taken to Bombay after the male died during the voyage and the female escaped in Madras, never to be found again. The chicks grew and lived for about 6 years but with age, the female showed increasing aggression towards the male sibling, eventually injuring him so badly that he died.
The island of Narcondam has in the past been largely unpopulated. Goats were introduced several times on the island in the past, and a visit in 1991 revealed that feral goats had proliferated around an old police outpost. In 2011 there was a proposal by the Indian Coast Guard to erect a radar station and a diesel power generation station for it on the island. This was opposed due to the threats of increased human activity and disturbance and the threat to a number of endemic island species, including the hornbill. The plan was finally cancelled by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2012. However, in the wake of the Chinese monitoring activity in Myanmar's neighbouring Coco Island, the nod for the listening station was granted in June 2014. 
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