Coppersmith Barbet

The call is usually what gives its presence away- a loud rather metallic tuk…tuk…tuk (or tunk), reminiscent of a copper sheet being beaten, that has also given  the bird its name.

The Coppersmith Barbet, Crimson-breasted Barbet or Coppersmith (Megalaima haemacephala), is a bird with crimson forehead and throat which is best known for its metronomic call that has been likened to a coppersmith striking metal with a hammer. It is a resident found in South Asia and parts of Southeast Asia. Like other barbets, they chisel out a hole inside a tree to build their nest. They are mainly fruit eating but will take sometimes insects, especially winged termites.

Clicked @Pune University.  All photos (c) Alaka Yeravadekar

This species of barbet is found to overlap in range with several larger barbets in most of South Asia. In the Western Ghats, it partly overlaps with the Malabar Barbet which is of a very similar size but having a more rapid call. The red forehead, yellow eye-ring and throat patch with streaked underside and green upperparts, it is fairly distinctive. Juveniles are duller and lack the red patches. The sexes are alike. The Sri Lankan form has more black on the face, more red on the breast and darker streaks on the underside. During the nesting season, the wear and tear on the feathers can cause the plumage of the upper back to appear bluish.

Throughout their wide range they are found in gardens, groves and sparse woodland. Habitats with trees having dead wood suitable for excavation is said to be important. Birds nest and roost in cavities.

They compete with other cavity nesting birds and frugivores. Megalaima asiatica have been noted to evict them from their nest holes, while Red-vented Bulbuls have been seen to indulge in kleptoparasitism, robbing the male of berries brought to the female at the nest.

(Above information from Wikipedia)

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