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Narcondam Hornbill Rhyticeros narcondami
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This hornbill is listed as Endangered because it is suspected that its very small population, which is restricted to one tiny island, consists of fewer than 250 mature individuals. Its population appears to be stable despite some degree of hunting and habitat degradation.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Rhyticeros narcondami (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Aceros.

Aceros narcondami Hume, 1873

45-50 cm. Small, distinctive, dark hornbill with pale blue gular pouch and all-white tail. Males have rufous head, neck and upper breast, blackish remainder of underparts and reddish base to bill. Females have black head to upper breast. Juveniles resemble males, but are duller-billed. Voice Cackling ka-ka-ka-ka-ka.

Distribution and population
Aceros narcondami is endemic to the tiny (6.82 km2) island of Narcondam, east of the Andaman Islands, India. In 1998, the population was estimated at 295-320 birds and stable, including an estimated 68-85 breeding pairs, while during fieldwork in 2000, the population was estimated to be 432 individuals (Yahya and Zarri 2002), and in 2003, Vivek and Vijayan (2003) reported 320-340 individuals; these figures may indicate that the number of mature individuals is fewer than 250 (Kinnaird and O'Brien 2007).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 320-340 individuals, based on an area of habitat of 6 km2. This is interpreted by Kinnaird and O'Brien (2007) to equate to fewer than 250 mature individuals, and so the population is placed in the band 50-249 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Its population appears to be stable despite some degree of hunting and habitat degradation.

It is resident in fairly open mixed forest, which covers most of the island, from sea-level to the peak at c.700 m, although the majority of nests are below 200 m (Vijayan 2009). It uses mature, undisturbed forests with large trees for nesting and roosting. The species nests in holes on the trunk or broken branches of large trees and the female is sealed into a nest-cavity for the duration of egg-laying and chick-rearing (the breeding period spanning at least from February until April). At this time, the female sheds her flight feathers and is incapable of flight. Each pair generally raise two young. Breeding birds are over four years old and constitute c.46-53% of the population (Vijayan 2009). Nine species of fruits have been recorded in the diet (Yahya and Zarri 2002) as well as invertebrates and occasionally small reptiles (Vijayan 2009).

A small police outpost was established on the island in 1969. Two or three hectares of forest have been lost to the creation of the post and a plantation of fruit trees and vegetable plots. At least 10 living trees are cut each year for fuel wood for the camp and further wood is cut periodically for maintenance purposes. The proposed installation of communication structures on the island could further reduce the habitat of this species and cause disturbance during the construction phase (K. Sivakumar in litt. 2012) . The introduction of domestic animals also poses a potential threat. Previously up to 400 feral goats were living on the island and limiting natural forest regeneration, but most have now been removed (Yahya and Zarri 2002). A sizeable population of feral cats occurs which may pose a threat to the species. Hunting for food results in an estimated annual loss of 25-40 birds (Islam and Rahmani 2010), but this is not a serious threat given its high levels of recruitment. Its small population and tiny range make it susceptible to natural disasters and disease.

Conservation Actions Underway
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).

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Islam, M. Z., Rahmani, A. R. 2010. Saving globally threatened and endemic birds using the IBAs approach in Andaman and Nicobar islands . Recent Trends in Biodiversity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, pp. 423-434. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumb

Kinnaird, M. F.; O'Brien, T. G. 2007. The ecology and conservation of Asian Hornbills: farmers of the forest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA.

Vijayan, L. 2009. Conservation of birds of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Indian Birds 5(4): 103-107.

Vivek, R. 2005. Ecology and conservation of the Narcondam Hornbill Aceros narcondami in the Andaman Islands, India. . Fourth International Hornbill Conference. Limpopo, South Africa..

Yahya, H. S. A.; Zarri, A. A. 2002. Status, ecology and behaviour of Narcondam hornbill (Aceros narcondami) in Narcondam Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99: 434-445.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Derhé, M., Peet, N., Symes, A., Tobias, J. & Khwaja, N.

Sivakumar, K.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Rhyticeros narcondami. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
Species name author Hume, 1873
Population size 50-249 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 7 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species