About Sri Lanka Grey Horn-Bill

The Sri Lanka grey hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis) is a bird in the hornbill family that is a widespread and common endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka. It is a widespread and common endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka. Hornbills are a tropical near-passerine bird family that can be found throughout the Old World.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Megalaimidae
Genus: Psilopogon
Species: P. Rubricapillus
Binomial Name: Psilopogon Rubricapillus

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The Sri Lanka grey hornbill is a gregarious bird that can be found in forest habitats throughout the country.


Approximately 45 centimeters (18 inches) in length, the Sri Lanka grey hornbill is a large bird. It has grey wings with black primary flight feathers, a grey back, and a brown crown, all of which are distinctive characteristics. The underparts of this bird are white, and its long tail is blackish with white sides. There is no casque on the long, curved bill. Sex differences are minimal, though the male’s bill is cream in color, whereas the female’s bill is black with a cream stripe. Immature birds have dark grey upperparts, a cream bill, and a tail with a white tip, which distinguishes them from adults. It has a slow and powerful flight style.


When the female lays her eggs, she constructs a cement out of mud, droppings, and fruit pulp to keep the eggs safe while they are incubating in a tree hole. A single small opening, barely wide enough for the male to pass food between the mother and chicks, serves as the only access point. These birds usually live in pairs or small flocks of up to five birds, depending on their size (2 adults and 2-3 juveniles). 


They have been observed consuming berries, fruits, insects, and small lizards, indicating that they are omnivores. Its primary food source is figs, though it also consumes small rodents, reptiles, and insects on occasion.

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