Culture of India

Hornbill Festival

  • At the Hornbill festival in Nagaland, the official unveiling of the emblem for India’s forthcoming G20 presidency took place recently.

Hornbill Festival: What is it?

  • Kohima, Nagaland hosts the Hornbill Festival every year from December 1 through December 10.
  • In 2000, the festival made its debut.
  • The enormous, colourful woodland bird that is depicted in the folklore of the majority of the state’s tribes, the Indian hornbill, is the source of the name.
  • The traditional Naga Morungs exhibition and sale, food stalls, herbal medicine stalls, flower shows and sales, cultural mélange – music and dances, fashion shows, etc. are festival highlights.


  • IUCN status: Appendix I, Vulnerable (uplisted from Near Threatened in 2018).
  • One of the bigger members of the hornbill family is the great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), commonly referred to as the great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill.
  • The great hornbill has a lengthy lifespan, spending around 50 years in captivity.
  • It primarily consumes fruit, although it also pounces on small mammals, reptiles, and birds when the opportunity arises.
  • It has become significant in many tribal cultures and ceremonies thanks to its amazing size and colour.
  • Their population is primarily concentrated in India, particularly in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris.
  • It’s also thought that some of the biggest bird concentrations can be found in the Nilgiris North Eastern Range, where the birds build their nests.

Ecological significance

  • Hornbills, known as “forest engineers” or “farmers of the forest,” are indicators of the health and balance of the forests they build their nests in because they are essential in spreading the seeds of tropical trees.


  • Despite being cultural icons for some ethnic communities in the northeast, particularly the Nyishi of Arunachal Pradesh, hornbills used to be killed for their casques, or upper beaks, and feathers for embellishing headgear.
  • There are fewer tall trees where the birds nest as a result of illegal logging.
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