Monday, September 28, 2009

Hornbills and Coracle Ride

The Dandeli Forest Reserve is most famous for its magnificent hornbills. We saw Grey Hornbills and the spectacular Malabar Pied Hornbill.The big bird has a horn-like appendage on its bill, hence the name. Its horn and bill are golden, the body is chocolate brown, and the feathers have white fringes. When we went, they were courting. Once the female lays eggs in her hole-in the tree-nest, the male hornbill seals up the nest with clay and dung , leaving a small hole from which to feed his partner. He works whole day to feed his prisoner, and the effort makes him quite thin, while the female relaxes for days till the eggs are hatched and becomes fat!
The hornbills are numerous along the banks of the Koneri river, a forest stream famous for its flash floods. White water lilies are blooming in the shallows.

The 'Evening Glory" had not yet opened for the night.

These are lightweight boats called coracles, made of bamboo and hide. They have been in use since thousands of years in these parts. The boatman had fixed tables in the centre for the tourists to sit. Four people can sit on it.The boatman sits with a staff.(oar) The coracle is ideal for fishing and bird watching as it makes no sound , nor creates ripples. In Kannada, it is called Harigolu, which means "God is the Staff"- self explanatory!

A Common Crow,Euploea core, landed on Sudha's hand, seeking warmth.


  1. Padma, thank you for this wonderful tour. I've never photographed a hornbill. They're magnificent! I did get a chance to see them at Nameri Forest Reserve near the Arunachal border. From your description, I can imagine how beautiful the Malabar Pied hornbill must be.

    Love the idea of the table on the boat! Lucky Sudha! I wish that would happen to me too!!

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. That means a lot to me.

    Happy Bijoya!

  2. Hi Kanak,Thanks for your comment. You can see the Malabar hornbills in all their glory at

  3. Hello. You have very nice blog. Your photos are amazing. Also like to take pictures. But I am an amatuer photographer. I take pictures like, just for fun and joy. Have a nice day, Radka.

  4. Very interesting post as usual. I wonder if other birds do the same thing as the hornbill, that's something I've never heard of before.

  5. Oh Lotusleaf, this was just fascinating, as are all of your posts! I love the boat and your description of it. I would love to ride one and sit next to you so you could explain what we were seeing. The butterfly is magnificent as is the hornbill. Thanks once again for educating us about your land. :-)

  6. Catherine, I think only the hornbill does the imprisoning of the mate. If the male is killed during the time, the female and the chicks too die.
    Hi Frances! Thanks for your nice remarks.I wish we would have the opportunity to do it some day!
    Radka, welcome and thanks for your comment.

  7. Great photos and those boats are really interesting.

    Goldenray Yorkies