Two Grey Hornbill Female at Delhi
Two Grey Hornbill Female at Delhi

The available literature on the Google talks about two interesting behaviour of Indian Grey Hornbills namely Aerial Jousting and Bill Grappling. These two have been interpreted either as aggression ,social interactions, pair bonding or play.

Dr Raju Kasambe with Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai and Sh Pravin Charde have suggested that the bill grappling and aerial jousting may be explained in two different context of the life cycles. Social play in the non-breeding time and as a courtship ritual in the adult during the breeding birds.

Two Grey Hornbill male at Delhi

I too have been observing the behavior of Indian Grey Hornbill for the last 3 years. In the avian world fight, courtship and mating is the most common behaviour. To pass on the best of the genes as per the Charles Darwin theory of Survival of the fittest, fight is necessary in all the species.

I have observed a number of times apart from aerial jousting and bill grappling, the fight between the females and males too.

Two Grey Hornbill male fight at Delhi
Two Grey Hornbill fight at Delhi

On 10th June 2016 as well as on 12th June 2016, I observed a fight between two females which continued for more than a few minutes. No doubt the fight is by catching hold of the beak whether in the air or on the ground. Then again on 26th March 2017 I observed the fight from a very close angle on the road when the duo male came down fighting from the top of a tree.

A number of images taken at different times of the year will tell the story. It is said that a picture is more than a thousand words. Enjoy the pictures and decide whether they fight as other living creatures do.

About Vinod Goel

He joined Customs & Central Excise service in 1982. As a civil servant, his job takes him to various parts of India, which gave him an opportunity to capture our wild heritage, through his camera. His passion for wildlife photography started in 2004 when he was posted at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and this passion continues till today.