Malabar Gray Hornbill Ocyceros griseus

Divya Mudappa and T. R. Shankar Raman
Version: 2.0 — Published July 9, 2020


Welcome to Birds of the World!

You are currently viewing one of the free accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of the World. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this account.

For complete access to all accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Systematics History

Described by Latham in 1790 as Buceros griseus. Previously placed in genus Tockus, which now includes only Afrotropical hornbills. Reinstated in genus Ocyceros that differs from Tockus in lack of distinctive territorial display, in habit of delivering food to the nest in the gullet and regurgitating at the nest, and in having a different species of Chapinia mallophagan feather louse, although the genus shares the same species of Buceroemersonia louse (12,4).

Previously, the Malabar Gray Hornbill as Tockus griseus griseus and the Sri Lanka Gray Hornbill (as T. g. gingalensis) were considered a single species (13,14). They were later split based on their non-overlapping distributional ranges and differences in morphology and vocalization (4).

Geographic Variation

No information.



Related Species

Closely related to Sri Lanka Gray Hornbill (O. gingalensis), and often treated as conspecific. See Appearance: Similar Species for phenotypic differences.

While previous research (15) had tentatively grouped Asiatic Ocyceros with African Tropicranus [here recognized as Horizocerus], Ceratogymna and Bycanistes, more recent analyses reveal that this genus is allied to Anthracoceros with very strong support. These two genera appear to be sister to Anorrhinus, forming an exclusively Asiatic clade of hornbills (16). Within this radiation, O. griseus appears to be most closely related to O. gingalensis, which together are sister to O. birostris (16).


Local names: ಕಲ್ದಲ್ ಹಕ್ಕಿ (kaldal hakki, Kannada), കോഴിവേഴാമ്പൽ (kozhi vezhambal, Malayalam), சோலை இருவாச்சி or சோலை காகா (sholai iruvaachchi or sholai kaka, Tamil, meaning forest hornbill and forest crow, respectively); சராட்டான் (sarattaan, Kadar); செரியன் ஓங்கல் (seriyan oongal, Muthuvar, meaning small hornbill); chotta peelu, dhanesh (Marathi, Konkani).

Fossil History

No information.

Recommended Citation

Mudappa, D. and T. R. S. Raman (2020). Malabar Gray Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.maghor2.02