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Coppersmith Barbet

Megalaima haemacephala


Megalaima haemacephala (Statius Muller, 1776) is a species in the family Megalaimidae; It is easily recognizable, even by novice bird watchers like me, because of its flashy red, yellow and speckled colouring. Its voice is also unmistakable, sounding a loud "tonk" every second for several minutes, followed by several more minutes of silence before starting again. Its common name, Coppersmith Barbet, originates from the similarity of its call to the sound of a hammer beating on a sheet of copper.


Spotted pecking a hole in the trunk of a dead tree in my neighbour's garden. It worked tirelessly at this task of creating a hole in the tree for its nest, day after day. By observing it for some time, I came to the conclusion that its "Tonk, Tonk, Tonk" song was probably calling to attract a mate and the silences or breaks in the song were simply because his beak was busy chiseling out a nice house to impress any potential partners.


I know very little about birds and would appreciate any advice if my amateurish observations have led me to wrong conclusions regarding the lifestyle of this beautiful creature.

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John B.
Spotted by
John B.

Palauig, Central Luzon, Philippines

Spotted on Mar 24, 2016
Submitted on Mar 30, 2022

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