Trivia / Alluring Arunachal

The traditional headgear of the Nyishi tribe has ________ surmounted on it.

  1. The beak of a hornbill
  2. A pair of horns of Mithun
  3. Feathers of a peacock

The beak of a hornbill

The beak and feathers of hornbill, the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh, are used by the Nyishi tribe to decorate their traditional headress - Puddum. The great Indian hornbill is a large bird, known for its peculiar beak, spanning upto 4 ft in length and 5 ft in wingspan, is the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh.

Hornbills nest in tree cavities that are sealed shut with their excrement except for a narrow slit. The female is sealed inside with the eggs for three to five months, defending her eggs from predators by poking them with her beak. The male brings food and water for the family in its beak, and transfers it to the female from the slit.

The number of hornbills was decreasing at an alarming rate due to the hunting by the Nyishi tribe and human disturbance from settlements before 2011, when Nature Conservation Foundation along with the Ghora-Aabhe society started a nest adoption programme. The programme spreads awareness about the issue in the Nyishi tribe and has also started hiring the members of the tribe as nest protectors. The tribe known for being skilled hunters, have now turned into protectors of the species and use a fiberglass replica of the beak to decorate their traditional headress.