Sri Lanka / Ceylon Grey Hornbills

The Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis) is a hornbill and a widespread and common endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka. Hornbills are a family of tropical near-passerine birds found in the Old World (Africa, Asia and Europe).

The Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill is a gregarious bird found in forest habitats.

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Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis)

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis)


The Grey Hornbill is a large bird at 45cm in length. It has grey wings with black primary flight feathers, a grey back, and a brown crown. Its long tail is blackish with white sides, and the underparts are white. The long curved bill has no casque (a large display growth on the upper mandible of the bill).

Males and females look alike, although the male has a cream-colored bill, whereas the female’s is black with a cream stripe. Immature birds have dark grey upperparts, a cream bill, and a tail with a white tip. Its flight is slow and powerful.

Diet / Feeding

It feeds mostly on figs, although occasionally it eats small rodents, reptiles and insects.


The female lays up to four white eggs in a tree hole blocked off during incubation with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, barely wide enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and the chicks.


  • BirdLife International (2004). Ocyceros gingalensis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Birds of India by Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, ISBN 0-691-04910-6
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