u

CO

I

V

V W >

A 2 00 NOlXfUlXSNI NVINOSHXIWS S3

CO

*

>

2 CO 2

avaan libraries Smithsonian institution

Nounius

2

CO

HI

C

LI B RAR I E$

O

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

NOimillSNI

nvinoshxiws S3iavaan

LIBRARI

INSTITUTION

NOlinillS

2

CO

H

LI B RAR

ES SMITHSONIAN

CO

INSTITUTION

c

H

CO

UJ

w&\

cr

*2 HI

<

*3 c/

K7

cc

m

NOimillSNI

NVINOSHXIWS

NOIXfiXIXSN!

i

nvinoshxiws saiuvusn 2 o

o

2 vNs

LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN' 2 '

INSTITUTION

Noixnxixs

LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN institution mai inn iqkii mwimoqu iiiaio

uwu a i

^ vv^ ^ ft*''

^ > *' 2 > 2E

CO ' »*'■'* ~Z to Z ^

JOSHIIWS S3 lava an LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION NOlinillSNI

Z

CO

O

z

NVINOSHJLIWS S3

CO

rHSONIAN INSTITUTION NOIlfUUSNI NVIN0SH1IWS

ssiavaan

BR ARIES SMITHSONIAN INS

moshims ssiavaan librar

SMITHSONIAN

INSTITUTION

NOlinillSNI

NVIN0SH1IIAIS

FHSONIAN INSTITUTION NOlinillSNI NVIN0SH1IINS S3 I a Va 8 II

CO

LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN INS co

I0SH1IWS

DC

saiavaan

LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN

z

o

3

co

INSTITUTION NOlinillSNI z I

o

CO

Z

NVINQSH1IIAIS S3 o

nvinoshihns S3 1 ava 9 II

tv

LIBRAR I ES

SMITHSONIAN INS

moshiiws saiavaan libraries Smithsonian institution NoiiniusNi

NVIN0SH1IWS S3

CO

THS0N1AN INSTITUTION NOlinillSNI NVINQSH1IWS S3 I ^ VH a 1 1 LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN

NOSHimS S3 1 ava an LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION NOlinillSNI NVIN0SH1IINS S3

THSONIAN INSTITUTION NOlinillSNI

co

x

to

O

V^ltiS^>

NVINOSH I IIA/S

>

Z

MWMfln LIBRARIES SMITHSONIAN

_

$0(r - *4

JOURNAL

of the

Bombay Natural History

Society

Vol. 81, No. 1

Editors : J. C. Daniel, P. V. Bole & A. N. D. Nanavati

APRIL 1984

Rs. 45

m

T’-

NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS

Contributors of scientific articles are requested to assist the editors by observ- ing the following instructions:

1. Papers which have at the same time been offered for publication to other

journals or periodicals, or have already been published elsewhere, should not be submitted. -

i

2. The MS. should be typed (double spacing) on one side of a sheet only, and the sheets properly numbered.

3. All scientific names to be printed in italics should be underlined.

4. Trinomials referring to subspecies should only be used where identifica- tion has been authentically established by comparison of specimens actually collect- ed.

5. Photographs for reproduction must be clear and show good contrast. Prints must be of a size not smaller than 8.20 x 5.60 cm (No. 2 Brownie) and on glossy glazed paper.

6. Text-figures, line drawings, and maps should be in Indian ink, preferably on Bristol board.

7. References to literature should be placed at the end of the paper, alpha- betically arranged under author’s name, with the abridged titles of journals or periodicals underlined (italics) and titles of books not underlined (roman type), thus :

Banerji, M* L. (1958): Botanical Exploration in East Nepal. 7. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 55(2): 243-268.

Prater, S. H. (1948): The Book of Indian Animals. Bombay. Titles of papers should not be underlined.

8. Reference to literature in the text should be made by quoting the author’s name and year of publication, thus: (Banerji 1958).

9. Synopsis : Each scientific paper should be accompanied by a concise,

clearly written synopsis, normally not exceeding 200 words.

10. Reprints : Authors are supplied 25 reprints of their articles free of charge. In the case of joint authorship, 50 copies will be given gratis to be distributed among the two or more authors. Orders for additional reprints should be in multi- ples of 25 and should be received within two weeks after the author is informed of the acceptance of the manuscript. They will be charged for at cost plus postage and packing.

11. The editors reserve the right, other things being equal, to publish a mem- ber’s contribution earlier than a non-member’s.

Hombill House, Editors,

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Journal of the Bombay

Bombay 400 023. Natural History Society .

VOLUME 81(1) : APRIL 1984

Date of Publication : 9-8-1984

CONTENTS

Page

Some aspects of the Biology and Ecology of Narcondam Hornbjll ( Rhyticeros narcondami). By S. A. Hussain. ( With one coloured & five Black-and-W hite plates and five text- figures) 1

Seasonal variation in the population of Acrida exaltata Walk, at Aligarh.

By Shamshad Ali. ( With seven text-figures ) .. 19

Larval culture of the Hermit Crab Clibanarius aequabilis var. merguiensis De Man (Decapoda, Anomura, Diogenidae) reared in the Laboratory. By Venkatray N. Nayak. ( With seven text-figures ) . . 29

Tourist activity and behaviour of the Leopard Panthera pardus fusca (Meyer,

1794) in the Ruhuna National Park, Sri Lanka. By M. R. Chambers, Charles Santiapillai and N. Ishvvaran. {With two text-figures ) . . 42

Some observations of scarce birds in Nepal. By N. J. Redman, F. Lambert and

R. Grimmett . . 49

Spawning of some important cqldwater fish of tfie Garhwal Himalaya. By

S. P. Badola and H. R. Singh. {With a plate) . . 54

Reproduction biology of the Soft-furred Field Rat, Rattus meltada pallidior (Ryley, 1914) in the Rajasthan desert. By B. D. Rana and Ishwar Prakash.

{With three text-figures) . . 59

Flowering plants around the holy shrine of Kedarnath, Uttar Pradesh. By

J. K. Semwal. {With a text-figure) . . 7!

Observations of the reproductive biology of the Indian Chameleon, Chamaeleo

zeylanicus (Laurenti). By L. A. K. Singh, L. N. Acharjyo and H. R. Bustard 86

New records and hosts of Aphid parasitoides (Hymenoptera: Aphidiida) from

Kashmir, India. By R. C. Bhagat . . 93

Host plants of the Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of the Indian sub-

continent, exclusive of the sub-family Dacinae. By Mohammad Zaka-ur-Rab 99

Observations cn the length-weight relationship of the fish Rasbora daniconius

(Ham.-Buch.). By V, Y. Thakre, and S. S. Bapat. {With two text-figures) .. 105

Influence of atmospheric temperature and humidity on the variations in seasonal abundance and phenology of Micrcnecta striata Fieber. By T. C. Banerjee, A. S. Mondal and T. K. Nayek. {With seven text-figures) .. 110

Further contribution to the Flora of Buxa Forest Division, Jalpaiguri District

(West Bengal). By J. K. Sikdar and Rolla S. Rao. {With a text-figure) .. 123

New Descriptions:

A new species of Soiichus L. (Asteraceae) from south India. By M. Chandra-

bose, V. Chandrasekaran and N. C. Nair. ( With seven text-figures ) .. 149

Description of two new species and one new record of Cryptostigmatid Mites (Acari: Oribatei) from Maharashtra, India* By A. K. Sanyal. (With four text-figures) . . 151

A new species of Ophiorrhiza (Rubiaceae) from Andhra Pradesh. G. V. Subba

Rao and G. R. Kumari. ( With six text-figures ) 156

Description of a new genus and some new species of tcrrenticole Diptera

of the northwest Himalaya. By B. K. Kaul. ( With thirty-four text-figures) 158

Three new species of genus Isoetes L. from Rajasthan, India. By C. B. Gena

and T. N. Bhardwaja. ( With a pi ate) . . 165

A new 'Sim pi ocos Jacq. ( Symplocaceae) from southern India. By A. N. Henry, R.

Gopalan and M. S. Swaminathan. ( With seven text-figures) . . 169

Reviews: :

1. Sunlight and Shadows. (Divyabhanusinh Chavda) .. 172

2. The IUCN Aphibia-Reptilia Data Book Part I. (P. Kannan) , . 174

3. Symbiosis in the Mango-hopper: A study in Comparative Cytopathology.

(T. S. S. Dikshith and R. K. Varshney) .. 175

4. Supplement to Duthie’s Flora of the Upper Gangetic Plain and of the adjacent

Siwalik and Sub-Himalayan Tracts. (A. R. Daruwalla) .. 176

Miscellaneous Notes :

Mammals: 1. Record of the Fulvous Fruit Bat, Rousettus leschenaulti (Desmarest, 1820) from Sikkim, with notes on its interesting feeding habit and status. By R. K. Ghose and D. K. Ghosal (p. 178); 2. A feeding association between a Heteropteran Bug and Langurs. By Paul N. Newton (p. 180); 3. White dots on the legs of Barking Deer. By J. Mangalraj Johnson (p. 182); 4. A note on cannibalism in desert rodents. By A. P. Jain (p. 182);

5. Bandicoot rat seizing a snake. By N. C. Nandi (p. 183); 6. Record of a foetus of the Unless Black Porpoise from Goa Coast. (With six text-figures). By M. Hafeezullah (p. 183).

Birds: 7. Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) feeding on cicadas on trees. By S. G. Monga and Pan ish Pandya (p. 186) ; 8. Unusual plumage in a Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis coro- mandus (Boddaert). By Natin Jamdar (p. 187); 9. Some notes on the Indian Reef Heron. By K. S. Dharmakumarsinhji (p. 188); 10. Exceptionally large eggs of the common House Crow, Corvus s. splendens Viell. By S. G. Monga (p. 189); 11. Laboratory observations on the incubation period of the Indian Black Ibis Pseudibis papillosa (Temminck). ( With a text- figure). By C. Salimkumar and V. C. Soni (p. 189); 12. Seasonality and occurrence of birds in the Eastern Ghats. By Humayun Abdulali (p. 191); 13. A curious experi- ence with a small Minivet ( Pericrocotus cinnamomeus) . By Sadiq A. Futehally (p. 191); 14. Frequency and duration of incubation of the eggs for Aegithina tiphia. By H. Daniel Wesley (p. 193); 15. Hypsipetes madagascariensis sinensis (La Touche): a first record for India. By S. Dillon Ripley and S. A. Hussain (p. 195); 16. The diagnostic plumage characters of the Redheaded Babblers Stachyris ruficeps and S. rufifrons. By C. J. O. Harrison (p. 197); 17. Behavioural response of a male Magpie-Robin ( Copsychus saularis Sclater) to its own song. By E. Narayanan (p. 199); 18. Mouse, a nest-parasite of Baya Weaver bird ( Ploceus philippinus L.). ( With three text-figures) . By D. Regupathy and T. A. Davis

(p. 200).

Fishes: 19. First record of the freshwater Grey Mullet. Rhinomugil corsula (Hamilton) from Maharashtra. By M. S. Pradhan and D. F. Singh (p. 202); 20. Preliminary observa- tions on the migratory behaviour of the Garhwal Himalayan Mahseer. ( With a text-figure) . By Prakash Nautiyal and M. S. Lai (p. 204).

Insects: 21. The spider as bee enemy. ( With a text-figure) . By A. K. Thakur and O. P. Sharma (p. 208); 22. New records of Aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) from Uttar Pradesh. By Basant K. Agarwala. D. Ghosh and D. N. Raychaudhuri (p. 211); 23. New record of insect pests infesting Kastnri Bhendi. Hibiscus abehnoschus Linnaeus, a medicinal plant. By R. Rajashekhargcuda, M. C. Devaiah and Suhas Yelshetty (p. 212); 24. A new record of Neopheosia fasciata (Moore) on apple. By Ramesh Chander (p. 213).

Other Invertebrates: 25. On a glossiphonid leech. ( With three text-figures) . By H. V. Ghate (p. 214); 26. Studies on the biological control of two common vector snails of

Punjab by predatory insects. By H. S. Bali. Sawai Singh and Sunita Sharma (p. 216);

27. Necrophagous habit in the Giant African Snail, Aehatina fulica fulica Bowdick. (With a plate). By A. K. Das and R. M. Sharma (p. 219).

Botany: 28. A contribution to the vegetation of Chaibasa (North), Singhbhum Dist. (North Bihar). By Dilip Kumar Biswas (p. 221); 29. Occurrence of Desmodium seorpiurus (Swartz) Desvaux in Western India. (With five text-figures) . By V. D. Vartak and M. S. Kumbhojkar (p. 224); 30. Identification and distributional note of a few species of Epilo- bium Linn, in India. By G. S. Giri and R. N. Banerjee (p. 227); 31. Cucumis melo Linn, in Punjab a taxonomic reappraisal. By M. Sharma (p. 229); 32. On the identity of two species of Oldenlandia L. (Rubiaceae). By D. B. Deb and Ratna Datta (p. 232); 33. Ceropegia pusilla Wight et Arn. (Asclepiadaceae) in Hoshiarpur District (Punjab).

By Anil K. Goel and Surendra Singh (p. 233); 34. Two noteworthy plants from West

Bengal. By S. N. Das and S. C. Roy (p. 234); 35. Abnormal flowering of Agave angusti- folia Haw. ( With a plate). By Anand Kumar and P. G. Diwakar (p. 235); 36. Gregarious flowering of Carvia callosa Bremek and Nilgirianthus reticulatus Bremek at Amboli. By Ulhas Rane (p. 236); 37. Pteris scabripes Wall, ex Hook. a new find from India. By S. R. Ghosh (p. 237); 38. Studies in Leguminosae XXX - Further contributions to Dalbergia L. f. and Denis Lour. {With three text-figures) . By K. Thothathri (p. 238).

\

J. Bombay nat. Hist, Soc 81

Plate

Narcondam Hornbills: Female above; Male below

JOURNAL

OF THE

BOMBAY NATURAL HISTORY

SOCIETY

1984 APRIL

Vol. 81

No. 1

SOME ASPECTS OF THE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF NARCONDAM HORNBILL ( RHYTICEROS N A RCONDA Ml )

S. A. Hussain1 2

( With one coloured & five Black-and -White plates and five text -figures)

Introduction

Two species of hornbills of the genus Rhyti- ceros are represented in the Indian sub-conti- nent- Of these R. undulatus occurs in north- eastern India, Burma down to Malay penin- sula and the Mergui Archipelago. The other, R. narcondami is restricted to Narcondam, an off lying island in the Andaman group. Very little is known about the biology and ecology of the latter. Hume (1873) on an expedition to the Andaman group collected several horn- bills from Narcondam and named it narcon- dami. Prain (1893), St. John (1898), Cory (1902) and Osmaston (1905) visited Narcon- dam subsequently to collect specimens. The last spent five days, (the longest period of time spent in the island by a visitor), in search of stands of the timber tree Pterocarpus dal-

1 Accepted January 1984.

2 Project Scientist, Avifauna Project, Bombay Natural History Society.

bergoides. He also made some notes on the fauna and flora including Hornbills, whose number he estimated to be about 200. No further information on the hornbills was avail- able until two of my colleagues at the BNHS* Robert B. Grubh and R. J. Pimento visited the island briefly in 1969. Abdulali (1971) visited the island in the following year and spent a few hours to collect specimens. In 1972 along with Mr. N. J. George of Prince of Wales Museum, I visited the island at the instance and direction of Mr. Humayun Ab- dulali. We visited South and North Andamans and Narcondam island from 4th March to 25th April 1972 and the field data and speci- mens collected by us were reported in the Journal (Abdulali 1974). The Narcondam island (the name Narcondam is derived from Sanskrit Naraka Hell; Kundam Pit, an obvious reference to the origin of the island which is believed to have been an active vol- cano not long ago) is difficult to approach, except during the months of March, April

JOURNAL . BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 81

and May when the sea around is comparati- vely calm.

The present paper records observations made by me during my stay on Narcondam from 16th March to 14th April 1972, and the sub- sequent observations on the two hornbill chicks brought back which lived in captivity at the Society’s premises.

T axonomical notes :

Hume (1873) while describing narcondami stated that it resembled R. plicatus of Borneo and due to the difference in size as well as the absence of a zoogeographic connecting link between these species gave the former the sta- tus of a species. Baker (1927) treated it as a full species in the absence of intermediates and stated that systematists may consider it to be a small island race of R. plicatus of which R. everetti of the Moluccas was thought to be an intermediate form. Blyth (1845) had in the meantime, described subruficolUs from N Burma, which he differentiated from R. plica- tus ruficollis by the absence of any ridges on the sides of bill and by its smaller size. Peters (1945) accepted this nomenclature and consi- dered subruficolUs a valid race of plicatus. Sanft (1960) who has authoritatively reviewed the family Bucerotidae, did not accept subru- ficollis as a race of plicatus preferring to synonymise it with undulatus. His argument was that undulatus and subruficolUs are from

3 Sanft, (IBIS 95: 702-703) after studying 16 museum specimens of R. undulatus, R. subruficolUs and intermediates argued that the ranges of the two overlap with the intermediates showing characteristics of the both, and therefore subruficolUs is synony- mous with undulatus. However, Elbe! ( Condor 71 (4) : 434-435) on the evidence of the mellophaga present in the above two species concluded that subruficolUs is distinct from undulatus and is closer to plicatus.

the same ancestral stock, differing only in deve- lopmental stages as well as localised varia- tions. One of the main differences is in the structure of the bill i.e. presence of ridges on the side of the basal half of the bill (= undu- latus) and absence of it (= subruficolUs) , which according to him, are linked with sexual matu- rity and tend to develop as the bird becomes older. The difference in body size, accord- ing to him, was ecologically linked to the types of habitats in which they occur. Thus the larger birds of the mountainous region are undulatus and the smaller occurring in low hill zones subruficolUs However, he had overlook- ed two other distinct characteristics that differentiate the two. The colour pattern of the head and neck of males, colour of gular pouch, and presence or absence of a black band on throat. These patterns are ap- parently not linked with ecological distribu- tion. Are they then linked with age? Does the yellow colour of gular pouch in S and black band on the pouch in both female and male develop as they grow older?3 (Table 1).

A 16 year old specimen of R. p. subruficolUs at the San Diego zoo shows all the characteri- stics of the typical ruficollis with blue gular pouch without the black band (K. C. Lint, pers. comm.). Under these circumstances the taxonomic and zoogeographic position of nar- condami is quite intriguing. If one were to accept Sanft’s proposition, narcondami is a smaller form showing immature characters of undulatus isolated in the islands long ago and gradually evolving into the present form (ende- mic?) and in the process losing the adult characteristics of the undulatus. On the other hand, the plicatus link theory, with the recogni- tion of subruficolUs as a distinct subspecies of the former, would perhaps open up a new line of possibilities on the zoogeography of the re- gion. Another species which perhaps raises

4-*

ECOLOGY OF NARCONDAM HORNBILL

3

Fig. 1. Distribution of Hornbilis in SE Asia (After Sanft 1960).

JOURNAL , BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 81

Table 1

R. undulatus R. p. subniftcollis R. narcondami

Bill

Wing

Weight Head & Neck

Gular

pouch

Distri-

bution

Side of mandibles ridged at base

458-505 $ 9 2.500 gm

$ dark brown crown and hindneck-almost black lower down. Throat & upper neck whitish

Bright yellow with black band 8

Dark blue and black band 9

NE India, Burma. Singapore, Sumatra, Java & Borneo

side of mandibles smooth at base 420-445 $ 9

1.900 gm

8 rufous head & hind neck, white on throat

Pale blue $ 9

Without black band

S. Burma. SW Thailand Sumatra, Borneo

side of mandibles smooth at base 303-305 $

285-287 9 600-750 gm

$ rufous head and neck

Pale blue $ 9 without black band

Narcondam I.

similar questions is R. everetti an endemic of Sumba islands, SE Asia (Fig. 1). There are similarities in the evolution of these two species. Both are endemic to small

islands, are smaller versions of neigh-

bouring forms, and have distinct morpho- logical characters (Fig. 2). Ali and Ripley

(1970), followed Peters’ nomenclature and call- ed it R. ( undulatus ) narcondami. Flowever, Ripley (1982) after seeing the live specimens in the BMHS and personal discussions with me agreed that narcondami is closer to plicatus than undulatus. Kemp and Kemp (1975) mention the long-hop flights of the SE Asian hornbills which sometimes cross the sea to offshore

islands. These hornbills have been observed to take off from the mainland and fly in “follow the leader” formation for some distance straight out over the sea and return eventually to the starting point. Is this behaviour then an instinctive urge of a long forgotten “migra- tory” habit? The significance of the white tail

in these hornbills which can be seen from long distances and which may probably act as a visual stimulus for the following hornbills, is worth noting.

Physiography and vegetation :

Narcondam island (13°30' N; 94°38' E) is situated c 500 km NW off Mergui archipelago and c 300 km SW of the Gulf of Martaban off the Burmese mainland, and c 125 km east of North Andaman in the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands in the Bay of Bengal. The island has a total area of about 682 hectares and is a part of a submerged chain of mountains in the Andaman archipelago. Narcondam is one of the two off-lying volcanic islands in the eas- tern sector of the group. It rises abruptly from the sea to a height of c 750 m sloping west- eastwards with a succession of steep spurs emanating from the main summit which is situated on the western portion of the island. The very mountainous nature of island (there

4

ECOLOGY OF NARCONDAM HORN BILL

Fig. 2. Ridges and gular black band is absent in plicatus plicatus, everetii everetti and narcondami. Latter two are 1/3 the size of undulatus with plicatus being

intermediate (see text).

Abbreviations : A Ridges; B Black band.

<$

R. EVERETTI

CARL P.

6

R. NARCONPAMI

(5

R. PLICATUS

JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 81

is virtually no continental shelf around the is- land) provides no landing place except for a small boulder-strewn bay on the southern side, which also provides the only small flat bit of ground for camping. A small spring in the bed of a dry nallah about 25 m above the sea level is the only fresh water source in the is- land known so far.

Climate :

The climate of the Andaman group of is- lands is tropical wet and humid with daily temperatures ranging from 27.8°C maximum and 21.8°C minimum. The rainfall is heavy both during SW and NE monsoons, lasting from May to October. Cyclonic storms occur during this period with rough weather con- ditions prevailing almost throughout the season. The average annual rainfall recorded for 17 years at Mayabunder (12°55' N; 92°55' E) the nearest weather station to Narcondam, is 3055.5 mm with an average of 13.4 rainy days per year. The month of July recorded highest average (538.5 m / 18.7 rainy days) and March lowest (4.8 mm / 0.4 rainy days).

Vegetation:

Parkinson (1923) and Thothathri (1960, 1962), and Balakrishnan (?) give some de- tails of the flora of the Andaman and Nico- bar group of islands. Prain (1893) described some aspects of the flora of Narcondam. The vegetation structure of the Narcondam island is more or less similar to that of the tropical N Andaman group. The vegetation can be divided into three categories (a) littoral (b) deciduous /evergreen and (c) moist evergreen. The very limited ‘shoreline’ of the island con- tains Ipomoea biloba, Scaevola koenigi. Hib- iscus tiliaceus, Panclanus sp., Thespesia popu - Inea, Barringtonia speciosa and Sterculia rubiginosa. Introduced plants like Coconut,

Papaya and Banana grow wild in this zone. The lower hills immediately following the ‘shoreline’ have both deciduous and evergreen trees. Some of the typical plants of this zone are Terminalia catappa, T. bialata, Parishia in- si gnis, and Cary ota mitis interspersed with numerous thorny creepers. The flora in the higher zones of the hill contains evergreens like Dipterocarpus sp-, Sideroxylon sp.. Ficus sp. etc. The vegetation still higher and close to the summit appears to be moist evergreen, with numerous epiphytes. Some of the seeds collected from a hornbifl’s nest were later identified as Anamirta cocculus, Capparis sepiaria, C. tenera var. latifolia, Garuga pin- nata, Amoora rohituka, Terminalia catappa and Ixora brunniscens. Apart from these, seve- ral other fruiting trees including the ones men- tioned above no doubt occur in the island.

Mammals :

No large mammals have been recorded in the island. Large rats ( Rattus sp.) obviously introduced, are common around the landing bay. Giant fruit bats (Ptcropus melanotus satyrus ) are common and other smaller bats may also occur.

Reptiles :

One of tne commonest snakes seen in the island is the flying snake Chrysopelia paradisi which is mostly arboreal. On the seashore oc- casionally sea snakes Laticauda colubrina are encountered. The giant water monitor Var anus salvator is common in different parts of the island. One specimen, which was collected, measured 1 m and weighed 4.5 kg. Skinks, Mabuya tytleri, Lygosoma maculatus and lizards, Cnemaspis kandiana, Cyrtodactylus rubidus and Phelsuma andamanense (endemic to Andamans) are common.

Land Crabs ( Car disoma hirtipes ) are very

6

J . Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 81 Plate i

Hussain: Rhyticeros narcondami

Above : Narcondam island from western side. The central peak is perpetually under a shroud of cloud.

Below : Male feeding female (and young) at nest ‘B\

(Photos'. Pat Louis)

J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 81 Hussain: Rhyticeros narcondami

Plate II

Above : Debris from nest ‘A’ (27/3/1972).

Below : A week old chick from nest (27/3/1972).

( Photos : S. A. Hussain)

ECOLOGY OF NARCONDAM HORN BILL

common throughout the island, occuring even higher up in the hills. Of the invertebrates, Danaidae; Nymphalidae; Lycaenidae (Butter- flies); Chryoschroa ignita, Mimila prenceps (Beetles); and spiders of the families Heterop- idae, Aregiopidae, and Thomsidae are record- ed.

Results

An attempt was made to locate as many nests of the hornbill as possible and to census

the population. A regular count of all the hornbills seen each day was made (see table 2). Increase in number of the females sighted may be due to their emergence from nest confinement after a successful brooding. It was not possible to identify all the nesting trees though a few nests were spotted on Sideroxylon sp. and Sterculia sp. Most of the nests were dis- covered from the debris and excreta and seeds below the nest-trees while a few others by observing the movements of the male bringing food to the nest.

Table 2

NARCONDAM HORNBILL

Date

No. of $ seen

No. of $ seen

No. of nests

No. of 8 9 at nest

17 / iii/76

25

Nil

3

3(3)

18

19

Nil

Nil

19

26

Nil

2

2(3)

20

14

Nil

Nil

21

28

1 (with $ )

Nil

22

31

4 ( 2 with 8 )

Nil

23

8

Nil

Nil

24

11

4

1

25

16

2

Nil

26

14

3

1

H8)

27

19

4 (2 with 8 )

Nil

28

16

2

1

H8)

29

59

11

Nil

30

72

28

1

31

40

10

l/iv/76

31

9

2

59

14

3

13

2

4

42

12

5

39

11

6

21

8

7*

8

48

9

9

23

4

10

52

11

* Rain

Note : The birds were counted randomly each day. The numbers may be biased on certain days as the birds congregating in feeding trees were counted as well as males on feeding forays may have been counted several times over !

7

JOURNAL, BOMBAY NATURAL HIST. SOCIETY, Vol. 81

3. Nest ‘A’ sketch

8

ECOLOGY OF N A RCON DA M HORN BILL

Nesting site :

A rough estimate of the heights of the nests observed varied between 2.4 m to 15.2 m. Two nests situated at 2.5 m and 2.74 m respectively were studied in detail. The nest ‘A' (Fig. 3) was situated on the outer bend of one of the main boughs of a tree facing west. The en- trance, though not concealed, was not easy to spot as the ground below the nest sloped down- wards steeply. The outer rim of the hole breadthwise measured 30 cm. Depth from the entrance to inner wall about 180 cm gradually tapering inwards. Nest i.T (Plate I) was on a bare tree facing east situated about 22.9 m from nest ‘A’. The ground rose into a steep ascent in front of the nest which enabled one to gaze directly into the nest hole from a cer- tain height. The entrance measured about 25 cm with a depth of about 149 cm. The flooor of the nest was horizontal. The contents re- moved from nest ‘A’ weighed 1360 g and con- sisted of eight varieties of seeds apart from feathers and powdered plaster. Some of the seeds were identified by the Botanical Survey of India.

The female and the young in the nest sat with their tail held up vertically. (They con- tinued to remain in this posture for quite some time even after they were removed from the nest.) The female attended to nest sanitation after every feeding visit of the male. She was observed tossing out what appeared to be the excreta of the young with her beak while she herself turned around and forcibly ejected her own excreta. On 6th April one of the chicks in the nest ‘B’ was seen making feeble attempts to defecate by bringing the anal region to- wards the nest entrance. Thereafter both the chicks regularly defecated in this manner.

Behaviour at nest :

The male starts fetching the food just be-

fore sunrise. No marked territorial behaviour by the breeding pair was observed. Occasio- nally an alien male or female was tolerated in the vicinity of the nest (i.e- on the same tree) though the minimum distance measured bet- ween two nests was about 22.8 m. Frequency of feeding varies with distance covered to the foraging tree. The shortest time recorded was 10 minutes and the longest 30 minutes. On arrival the male always perched on a particular branch of a tree depending on the direction of his arrival. If undisturbed, he would fly directly to the nest-hole, perching on a con- venient branch or clinging to the nest itself and proceed feeding the female. The food is coughed up, brought to the tip of the beak which is inserted into the slit opening and is offered to the female. The number of the in- sertions depends on the size of the food brought in. Large berries are offered piecemeal while smaller ones, whole. No attempt was made to retrieve the food that fell down in the course of feeding. A minimum of 10 insertions were counted when berries offered were large and a maximum of 93 when they were smaller. Some times the insertions are ‘false' when the female is not ready to receive the next berry. (Is she in turn feeding the young?) All this time the young would keep calling continuous- ly. Once the feeding was over the male would clean his beak on the branch a few times and after preening himself for a while fly away on the next foraging trip.

In the beginning of my observations the male refused to approach the nest in my pre- sence. He kept flitting from branch to branch and finally flew away. Fie seemed to rely on sight and showed no reactions to normal sounds but was wary of human voice. This particular male did not allow me to observe from any position below the line of its nest but allowed me to remain in full view at a dis-

9

JOURNAL , BOMBAY NATURAL LUST. SOCIETY, Vol. 81

*

tance of about 13-7 m, above the line of its nest. (This was possible as the ground rose upwards from the nesting tree).

It was not possible to ascertain the roles of the male and the female in nest building. The female in the nest ‘A’ was seen tamping the plaster of her nest by applying material with the sides of her bill on 18th March. The female sheds her flight feathers in the nest. The female taken out of the nest ‘A’ had 3rd, 4th and 5th primaries on the left wing and 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th on the right in moult. The rest had fallen. Of the tail the 3rd pair was in moult. She weighed about 680 g, while the bill measured 108 mm, tarsus 43 mm, tail 198 mm, (moulting). She was found to be incap- able of flight.

General behaviour

Call :

In flight, adults of both sexes emit a con- tinuous ‘Ka . . ka . . ka’ to the accompani- ment of wheezing laboured wingbeat. When alarmed, the male at nest-site calls a halting ‘ko . . kokokoko . . ko . . kok . . ko kok kok kok’ etc. The female inside the nest is generally silent, but sometimes utters a single ‘krwak’ if the male is late in offering the next morsel during the course of a feeding. If alarm- ed herself she emits a repeated ‘Kraawk kok kok’ resembling the alarm call of a frightened domestic fowl. The young inside the nest call feebly ‘chew . . . chew . . . chew’ continuously like a squeaking sewing machine in operation, especially when the male is feeding.

Courtship :

On 27th March four males and three females were seen perching on different branches of a Ficus tree. All were calling simultaneously- One pair ( d* $ ) was more active than the

others. The female, which perched on the lower portion of a horizontal branch assumed begging posture towards the male perched a little higher next to her on the same branch. The male though silent now, occasionally a gave ‘krawk’ call and ‘touched’ the female’s bill and hopped away. Twice the male brought out a berry and offered it to the female. This went on for some- time as both kept hopping from branch to branch and finally flew away together. Several pairs ( d $ ) were seen together in the different parts of the island. This suggests that court- ship was still in progress.

Relations with other animals :

No predators have been recorded so far but rats and water monitors are the only large animals/ reptiles in the islands. Flying snakes ( Chrysopelia paraclisi ) are very common and on one occasion one was observed passing on branches very close to a hornbiH’s nest con- taining a female and young. Once several hornbills were seen mobbing a whitebellied Sea Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucogaster) from tree to tree. Abdulali (op. cit.) also mentions similar occurrence earlier. A koel ( Eudynamys scolopacea ) was also seen being chased by a hornbill. Human presence in the island is a re- cent phenomenon and though the impact of their presence throughout the year could not be assessed it may be assumed that the nesting pattern of the hornbill, may be affected as they would avoid nesting on lower available sites due to disturbance /predation by man.

Development of the young :

The egg (only one obtained) was earthy brown in colour. This may be due to staining. It measured 33 x 45 mm and weighed 28 g- The same nest contained a chick about a week old. It weighted 75 g and measured 130 mm from tip of the beak to vent (Plate II). The

10

J . Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 81 Plate III

Hussain: Rhyticeros narcondami

On 26/4/1972 ‘A’ on right, ‘B’ on left.

( Photo : Courtesy Indian Express, Madras)

Above: ‘A7 <3* on 13/11/1972 c 9 month old. Below : ‘B’ $ on 13/11/1972 c 9 month old.

( Photos : S. A. Hussain)

J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 81 Plate IV

Hussain: Rhyticeros narcondami

ECOLOGY OF N ARC ON DAM HORN BILL

body completely naked except about 10 rudimentary rectal barbs in an arc immediately above and between the anus and the oil gland. Similar barbs, numbering about 23 along the basal half of the wing along the alar tract. The upper mandible from gape to tip was c 25 mm, and the lower c 27 mm. The depth of the bill c 13.5 mm and the tarsus measured c 16 mm, the eyes were completely closed. Both the egg and the chick were preserved.

The exact age of the two other chicks obtain- ed could not be ascertained though it is as- sumed that the interval of hatching between the two was about 10 days, but this factor needs further investigation. The present obser- vations on the growth were made from the date (13 April) the birds were removed from the next.

Of the two, one was considerably larger and ultimately turned out to be male. It was not possible to ascertain the sexes of them at this stage as both seemed to have similar plumage i.e. rufous on head and neck. The chicks were named ‘A’ and ‘B’ for the sake of convenience of description through various stages of deve- lopment. (It became apparent in the final stages of growth that smaller ‘B’ though it started of with the rufous plumage of a male, acquired black plumage of the 9 after the post-juvenile general moult and thereafter be- came a full-fledged female). Descriptions of development recorded for the period April 1972 March 1973 etc are given below. Body measurement and weights are given separately (see Figs. 4 and 5). The actual dates of measurements vary, though taken roughly dur- ing the