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The Coppersmith Barbet, Crimson-breasted Barbet or Coppersmith 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 the Indian Subcontinent 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 Malabar Barbet 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 upperparts, 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. In the Palni Hills of southern India it is said to occur below 4000 feet. 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.
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.
Spotted on Mar 7, 2013
Submitted on Mar 7, 2013