Photographer Dhanuparan’s photograph of a pair of great hornbills engaged in a mid-air duel fetches him recognition
Two shiny, yellow-and-black birds, perched on a tree take off and have interaction in aerial jousting. Photographer Ok A Dhanuparan captures the second and the freeze body wins him a grand prize and ‘Outback Photographer of the Year 2021’ award on the third annual images competitors for youth. The competitors organised by the Outback Experience in affiliation with Sanctuary Nature Foundation for under-25 wildlife photographers, gives a platform for younger artistic minds in youngsters and youths class (between 10 and 17) and younger adults (18 to 25). They can take part in classes like mammals (portrait & behaviour), birds (portrait & behaviour), panorama, the macro world and concrete wildlife. Wildlife photographer and movie maker Giri Cavale selects the winners.
Dhanuparan captured a novel behaviour of the great hornbills, one of the bigger members of the hornbill household. The most distinguished function of the hen is the brilliant yellow and black casque on prime of its huge invoice. Male hornbills indulge in territorial ‘casque butting’ (hanging one another in flight in a duel) over a feminine or some territory.
Dhanuparan reconstructs the second. “ I have been visiting the forest periphery near Valparai to shoot footage for the documentary on the Anaimalai Tiger Reserve which I am making currently. There’s a fig tree where the hornbills congregate to feed on berries. The males, while still in flight mid-air, clashed the casques loudly and repeated the behaviour every few seconds before they flew away.”
Dhanuparan has captured the Malabar gray hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill (each endemic to the Western Ghats), the Indian gray hornbill and the endangered Narcondam hornbill (with a velvet black plumage and outsized yellow beak) endemic to the Narcondam Island in Andamans. His photograph of a pair engaged in casque-butting additionally options in September 2020 Cub difficulty of Sanctuary Asia.
His fascination for these birds began throughout his childhood days when he would go on treks to Valparai forests from his residence in Pollachi. “It’s the first bird I ever photographed. The beauty makes you speechless. I have photographed nesting, feeding, congregation of 25 hornbills in one single location… there has been no stopping.”