Coppersmith barbet

Megalaima haemacephala

TAXONOMY

Megalaima h. haemocephala Muller, 1776. Five subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Crimson-breasted barbet; French: Barbu a plastron rouge; German: Kupferschmeid; Spanish: Barbudo de Pecho Rojo.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

6.7 in (17 cm); 1.4-1.8 oz (39-52 g). Adult birds are unmistakable. Upperparts are dark green; underparts are pale greenish with broad, dark green streaks and a red band across the upper breast. Forecrown is red; sides of head and throat are yellow; eyestripe and submoustachial stripe are black.

DISTRIBUTION

Peninsular and northern India, northeastern Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka to southwestern China, Malaysia, Sumatra, Philippines.

HABITAT

Forest edge, dry deciduous woodland, teak forest, irrigated orchards and plantations with figs and other fruiting trees; also town and city parks, gardens, ornamental trees, and edges of mangroves.

BEHAVIOR

Sings frequently with synchronized jerk of body, bob of head, and flick of tail; throat puffed out and jerk of head gives song a ventriloquial quality: a monotonous "pohp-pohp" or "tonk-

tonk" all day and even on moonlit nights. Sound recalls metallic hammering.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages in tree canopy and on fruiting trees, eating figs, pipals, guavas, mangos, and custard apples as well as smaller berries and many insects; taps and chips away bark to reach invertebrates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Lays 2-4 eggs (usually 3) in hole excavated in tree; both parents incubate for 14 days; chicks fledge after five weeks. Both parents feed chicks but they are abandoned as soon as they fledge, when female begins second brood.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened and very common in most of range.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Frequently heard and well known for its "hammering" song, even in urban areas. ♦

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