Megalaima-haemacephala, Coppersmith Barbet,

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Megalaima-haemacephala, Coppersmith Barbet, Crimson-breasted Barbet, Takur Ungkut-ungkut

The CoppMegalaima-haemacephala, Coppersmith Barbetersmith 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 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 insects.
Throughout their wide range they are found in gardens, groves and sparse woodland.
Pair at Nest in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
In Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
In Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
Bathing in the rain in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Behaviour and ecology

Keeps solitary, pairs, or small groups; larger parties occasionally on abundantly fruiting Ficus trees. Fond of sunning themselves in the morning on bare top branches of tall trees, often flitting about to sit next to each other. The flight is straight, with rapid flaps.

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, pirating berries that the males bring to the female at the nest.


The call is a loud rather metallic tuk?tuk?tuk (or tunk), reminiscent of a copper sheet being beaten, giving the bird its name. Repeated monotonously for long periods, starting with a subdued tuk and building up to an even volume and tempo, the latter varying from 1.5 to 2 per second.

The beak remains shut during each call – a patch of bare skin on both sides of the throat inflates and collapses with each tuk like a rubber bulb, with much body and tail shaking. Not very vocal in cold weather – a spell of rain or cold immediately silences them, but it is “one of India’s most familiar sounds in the hot season”.


Prefers Banyan, Peepul, and other wild figs, various drupes and berries, and the occasional insect, caught in aerial sallies.Petals of flowers may also be included in their diet. They eat nearly 1.5 to nearly 3 times their body weight in berries each day.[edit] Breeding

They breed through much of the year with local variations. Both sexes excavate the nest on the underside of a narrow horizontal branch. They may also roost inside the nest holes. Three or four eggs are laid and the incubation period is not known. The main nesting season is February to April, prior to the Monsoons but later in southern India and Sri Lanka. Multiple broods may be raised.

Mortality factors

Adult birds are sometimes taken by predatory species. In urban areas, there are records of collisions with structures including white walls. Pesticide poisoning has also been noted.

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