I saw this Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) on a late evening sitting on branch next to a white house. White background of the house, the dry tree branch it was sitting and colorful bird made a very nice setting. I was using my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV fitted with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM and a Canon EF 1.4x III Extender supported by Benro C45T Carbon Fiber Monopod. I wanted a greater depth of field to encompass the beauty of the dry branch. So I used aperture of f/8 & Shutter speed of 1/250th of second. But the light was insufficient. I raised ISO to 12800 as I knew that on 1D Mark IV I can afford to go that high and expect minimal noise. Bird heard my shutter sound and got alarmed. I was able to capture this beauty in few shots before it flew away.
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.
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 Crimson-fronted Barbet (Megalaima rubricapilla) 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 upper parts, 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.
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. 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, robbing the male of berries brought to the female at the nest.
The nest holes are also used for roosting and some birds roost alone in cavities and these often roost during part of the day. Immature birds will roost with the parents but often return to roost early so as not to be prevented by the parents from entering the roost cavity.
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 108 to 121 per minute and can continue with as many as 204 notes. They are silent and do not call in winter. 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 and the head is bobbed.
EXIF info – Aperture : ƒ/8 | Camera : Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Taken : 27 November, 2011 | Exposure bias : +1.7EV | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 10000 | Location : 12° 55.3338′ 0/0″ N 74° 51.9202′ 0/0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.