Family Hornbills (Bucerotidae)

Least Concern

Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus)


French: Calao gris German: Malabartoko Spanish: Cálao gris malabar

Buceros griseus


, 1790,

Bombay, India


Closely related to O. gingalensis, and often treated as conspecific, but present species differs (in both sexes) by diffuse whitish supercilium vs none (ns[2]); white-streaked grey vs off-white lower face, throat, breast and flanks (3); wing-coverts uniform grey, without thin black fringes creating a scaled appearance (ns[1]); male’s reddish bill with yellow tip vs pale yellow bill with black base to upper mandible (2); white tail-tips vs half-white tail with all-white outer rectrices (3); and female’s yellow bill with black on base of culmen and base of lower mandible vs usually black bill with bold yellow-white streak on side of upper mandible (ns[3]). Monotypic.


Western Ghats of SW India (S from WC Maharashtra).

Descriptive notes

45 cm; male 238–340 g. Small hornbill with grey, black and white plumage, broad pale eyebrow stripe, rufous vent, and bill with oval nostrils. Male with bill and low... read more


A short series of nasal, screaming whistles, typically ending in a fast descending ‘laughter’, “... read more


Evergreen and deciduous forest, especially along watercourses and in hill country above 600 m, but... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fruit and berries, particularly figs; also insects and lizards; rarely, flowers. One study of male feeding female (and latterly... read more


Lays in Jan–May, at end of dry season. Possible courtship display involves forward bows. Nest in cavity in live, usually large forest... read more


Apparently sedentary; may move locally in more deciduous habitats.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Western Ghats EBA. Reported to be declining in N part of range, and generally vulnerable to clearing of forest... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Boesman, P. (2019). Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 November 2019).