AimHornbills are ecologically important indicators of natural forest health and human disturbance. However, there are few scientific studies of hornbills from the North-Eastern region of India. The work presented here is the first study conducted to explore the population status and diversity of hornbills in Intanki National Park, Nagaland, Northeast India.
MethodsWe surveyed the area for a four-month period (January-April,2013) in three stratified habitat types viz. highly disturbed habitat (HDH), moderately disturbed habitat (MDH) and undisturbed habitat (UDH). Data on relative abundance and density of hornbills were estimated using encounter rate method and line and strip transect (fixed at two different widths- 100m and 200m) methods respectively. Habitat structure was estimated using belt transect plots.
ResultsThe present study confirmed the occurrence of four species of hornbill viz. Oriental-pied, Wreathed, Great and Brown hornbill in Intanki National Park. Oriental-pied was recorded the most widespread species and found in all three habitat types, with highest density in MDH which shows a positive correlation with density of feeding trees particularly Ficus species and Dysoxylum binectariferum, whereas UDH supported the highest diversity of hornbills.
ConservationOur study demonstrates the uneven distribution of density and diversity of all the species of hornbills among the three habitat types. This could be due to habitat loss and more so due to hunting pressure in the park. Restoration and conservation of these habitat types in collaboration with community people and forest department will prove to be a key role for future existence of hornbills in INP.