Rhyticeros narcondami 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Bucerotiformes Bucerotidae

Scientific Name: Rhyticeros narcondami Hume, 1873
Common Name(s):
English Narcondam Hornbill
Spanish Cálao de Narcondam
Aceros narcondami (Hume, 1873)
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Rhyticeros narcondami (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Aceros.
Identification information: 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.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Sivakumar, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Derhé, M., Peet, N., Symes, A., Tobias, J., Khwaja, N., Martin, R
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.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the tiny (6.82 km2) island of Narcondam, east of the Andaman Islands, India. The population has been estimated a number of times in the last few decades and appears to be roughly stable. In 1998 the population was estimated at 295-320 birds and considered stable with an estimated 68-85 breeding pairs, while during fieldwork in 2000 the population was estimated to be 432 individuals (Yahya and Zarri 2002). In 2003, Vivek and Vijayan (2003) reported 320-340 individuals. The overall density of the species was estimated at between 54 and 71 individuals per km2 (Vivek and Vijayan 2003). While high densities for a hornbill, considering the tiny range they indicate that the number of mature individuals is consistently fewer than 250 (Kinnaird and O'Brien 2007).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:6.82Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:7
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:1Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: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.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:50-249Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is resident in fairly open mixed forest, which covers most of the island, from sea-level to the peak at c. 700 m asl, although the majority of nests are below 200 m asl (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).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):19
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A small police outpost was established on the island in 1969. Approximately 20 hectares of forest have been lost since then to the creation of the post and plantations of coconut, areca, banana and vegetable plots (Raman et al. 2013). At least 10 living trees are cut each year for fuel wood for the camp and further wood is cut periodically for maintenance purposes, and live chickens have been brought to the island by police stationed on the island (Raman et al. 2013). A proposal to install a radar station on the island was rejected after clear demonstration of the likely detrimental impact on the population of the species (Ministry of Environment and Forests 2012, Raman et al. 2013); however this has now been approved by the new administration (Mohani 2014). The reasons for the initial rejection of the plan still stand, and the construction phase is likely to cause disturbance to the species (K. Sivakumar in litt. 2012). There is the potential for avian disease to affect the population via further introductions of domestic animals, and there is also the potential impact of the accidental introduction of non-native predators. The likelihood of this increases as greater numbers of people access the island, likely to occur during the construction phase of the new radar station.
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 was estimated to be causing an annual loss of 25-40 birds at the start of the 2000s (Islam and Rahmani 2010), but an awareness campaign has reduced this level (Raman et al. 2013). Its small population and tiny range make it susceptible to natural disasters and disease, but the species population does not appear to have been affected by the 2004 tsunami.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: 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 and prevent reintroduction (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).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Missing information has been added to the text in the 'Geographic Range Information' and 'Threats Information' fields, and the references updated.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Rhyticeros narcondami (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22682531A110038017. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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