The brown-headed barbet or large green barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) has a range that is widespread in the Indian subcontinent. It is present in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well. It is fairly tolerant of humans and is often seen in cities, in greenery.
Photo Courtesy of Gaurika Wijeratne @ Kotikawatta, Sri Lanka, Dec 2011
Notice that the bird has brown head and chest with thin white streaks. The yellow ring of skin around the eye extends down up to the opening of the beak. These characteristics helps distinguish it from the similar looking lineated barbet.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Garvie @ Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka, Aug 2009
After seeing the photos of brown-headed barbet, I can’t help but agree with what Douglas Dewar, an eminent ornithologist has written in his book,Bombay Ducks in 1906. I will briefly quote what he wrote about the bird.
“He would be a handsome bird but for his face.The bird has, a bare patch of yellow skin round each eye, which gives it a worn, haggard appearance, and greatly detracts from its beauty.”
Dewar does not miss the bird’s beauty.He writes eloquently,
“As it flies among the branches,its plumage appears to be of a uniform rich leafy green,the colour of the foliage in England after a rainy July day. Some brown feathers are visible in the head and neck, giving them a golden sheen under the influence of the sun’s rays.”
The bird is largely frugivorous and feeds on mangos, ripe jack, papaya, banana, figs and similar cultivated fruit trees. Like all barbets, they excavate holes in trees to make a nest.
Photo Courtesy of The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker @ Delhi,Mar 2014
1. Brown-headed Barbet page @ Wikipedia
2. Bombay Ducks and Account of Some of the Everyday Birds and Beasts found in a Naturalist’s Eldorado By Douglas Dewar,F.Z.S., LC.S.,1906
3.The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma,Vol III, By W.T. Blanford, F.R.S., 1889