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Great hornbills do not fully develop the distinctive yellow and black casques on the tops of their heads until they are five years old


Catching the prize

I took this photo of a great hornbill on the outskirts of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal, where I live, this October. It was late in the evening, with a chill in the air, when I spotted this young bird and his parents sitting in a tree enjoying a hearty meal of berries. It was a special moment to me, for several reasons – not only was it the first time I’d seen this beautiful bird, but it was in my hometown, which I hadn’t expected. Taking this photo also fulfilled a long-held wish of mine to capture a bird doing a ‘tossing’ movement, common among hornbills and other species such as pelicans. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my luck.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - January 2017
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