Coppersmith Barbet Photo Guide

The bird is called coppersmith barbet because its call is similar to clinking metal. This clinking sound is likened to a coppersmith tapping metal with a small hammer.You can listen to the sound at the intro page here. This bird named scientifically as megalamia haemacephala, is found throughout the Indian subcontinent. This barbet’s range is spread across other countries of Southeast Asia like Burma,Thailand,Malaysia etc. Lets take a tour through some fine photographs of this colorful bird ….
coppersmith_barbet backview                                                 Photo Courtesy of   Akshay Charegaonkar    @ Mumbai, Nov 2011
Notice the red forehead and the yellow around the eyes and chin. Also note the black beak and coral-red legs.
Coppersmith_Barbet_Thailand                                         Photo Courtesy of  Alnus  @ King Rama IX park, Thailand on a Fig tree, Nov 2009
Notice the red band on the bird’s neck  and hence the bird is also known as crimson-breasted barbet. Note the streaked underparts. They are small sized birds,slightly larger than house sparrow.

coppersmith barbet on ficus exasperata                                    Photo Courtesy of  Rahul Alvares  @ Goa on a Ficus exasperata tree, Apr 2013
They are frugivorous i.e. fruit eaters but will occasionally take insects like moths and winged termites. Fruits of Banyan and Peepal trees and other Ficus sps. are the favored diet.Here the barbet is seen perched on a forest sandpaper fig (Ficus exasperata) tree. This tree has been used in traditional medicine in Africa and modern studies are evaluating  extracts from this tree as a potential cure for arthritis,diabetes etc. [5][6].
coppersmith_barbet_nesting                            Photo Courtesy of  Jerry Oldenettel  @ Kanchanaphisek Park,Thailand, Feb 2013
The birds are cavity nesters. They excavate these cavities themselves like woodpeckers.They prefer soft-wooded trees or decayed branches of trees.The nesting season ranges from February to April in India.
Coppersmith_Barbet_(Megalaima_haemacephala)_feeding_on_Ficus_religiosa                             Photo Courtesy of  J.M.Garg  @ Sanjeevaiah Park, Hyderabad, May 2009
This  is the photograph of a juvenile bird. The junior is yet to develop red on the head and neck. Adult female birds look similar to adult male birds.

References
1. Coppersmith Barbet page @ Wikipedia
2. The Book of Indian Birds By Salim Ali published by The Bombay Natual History Society.
3. Popular Handbook of Indian Birds By Hugh Whistler F.Z.S.,1949
4. Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds By Allan O. Hume,C.B.,1890
5. Antiarthritic and antioxidant effects of the leaf extract of Ficus exasperata
6.Ahmed F, Mueen Ahmed K K, Abedin MZ, Karim AA. Traditional uses and pharmacological potential of Ficus exasperata vahl. Syst Rev Pharm [serial online] 2012 [cited 2014 Dec 26];3:15-23. Available from: http://www.sysrevpharm.org/text.asp?2012/3/1/15/107131

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