For Indian birders, hornbills are the rara avis. Or maybe not, depending on where you live. If you live in the Northeast or the Western Ghats, you will see hornbills. Sitting in Bangalore, it is rare.
The term rara avis is linked to the Black Swan. The expression comes from the Roman satirist Juvenal, ‘Rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno [A rare bird on this earth, like nothing so much as a black swan].
I interviewed Dr. Aparajita Datta about hornbills for the Bird Podcast. Listen to it here.