The Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) plays a very important role in maintaining optimal ecosystem health. They are frugivores and disperse seeds of many species of trees over large distances. However, these magnificent birds are classified as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat loss due to deforestation, especially in the Western Ghats, as well as hunting in Northeast India. The Anamalai Hills in the southern Western Ghats still offer pockets where the bird still thrives.
Great Hornbills are found in three separate areas in South Asia; the Western Ghats, the Himalayan foothills in Uttarakhand to south Nepal and Bhutan, and north-east India. They also occur in Myanmar, islands in the Mergui archipelago, southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, and Sumatra, Indonesia.