Hornbills among top seed dispersers, most threatened

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  • The study carried out in Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh noted that hornbills, one among the large-sized frugivores, are the top seed dispersers. Sadly, they are also the most threatened. This is because they are hunted for meat, and the tribal communities use their feathers for head dresses.


  • The study looked at 43 tree species, 48 frugivore bird species that were seen visiting them.
  • A single bird species could visit different tree species, and a single tree species would be visited by different bird species. So a complex network of over 400 interactions was created and studied.
  • The trees were classified into small-, medium- and large-seeded.
  • The large-seeded trees mainly depended on hornbills and imperial pigeons for their dispersal. The medium-size seeded trees were visited by bulbuls, barbets along with hornbills and imperial pigeons.
  • Though the frequency of visits was similar for all four bird species, the number of fruits removed from trees was high for hornbills.
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