(Nikon D500, 200-500mm lens; 1/640, f/6.3, ISO320-3200; hand-held; @Mahananda WLS, 25/02/23)
Rufous-necked Hornbill (Aceros nipalensis): Another star attraction of the sanctuary is this large colourful hornbill. Male has rufous head, neck and underparts, black glossy wings with white tips, and black tail with white lower half; while the female is all black, except for the white wingtips and lower half of tail. The bill has broad black grooves on the upper mandible, with no visible casque. Both sexes have a turquoise blue patch of skin around the eyes, cobalt blue cheeks and a scarlet red throat pouch which combined with the patterned ivory coloured bill gives a uniquely beautiful appearance to the face. Though the species name is ‘nipalensis’, as the bird was first studied in Nepal, this bird has become locally extinct in Nepal due to hunting and habitat loss. The remaining population has been considered as ‘Vulnerable’ as per IUCN red list.