I had written earlier about Two Barbets. I had opportunity to follow same Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) which was at that time building a nest. I was able to observe their nest at close quarter for over 1.5 months. I saw them raise their two chicks which finally flew off as healthy juveniles. I had use my Canon EF 300mm f/4.0 L IS USM with Canon EF 1.4x II Extender on Canon EOS 7D to take these series of photos as my 300mm f/2.8 was still not available.
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 bird belonged one of the nine sub species called Megalaima haemacephala indica (Latham, 1790) which is found in the Indian Subcontinent form northeastern Pakistan and extends into Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
This Coppersmith had built its nest in a small tree hole of a Mango Tree (Mangifera indica) Courtship involves singing, puffing of the throat, bobbing of the head, flicking of the tail, ritual feeding and allopreening. They breed through much of the year with local variation. The breeding season is mainly February to April in India. 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 like in many hole nesting birds the incubation period is not well known but has been estimated to be about 2 weeks. Both sexes incubate. Often two broods are raised in quick succession.
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. In the Himalayas it is found mainly in the valleys of the outer Himalayas up to 3000 feet. They are rare in the dry desert zones and the very wet forests.
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. Immatures 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.
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.