Of “toky” calls and Coppersmith Barbets

Been down quaint alleyways and watched tradesmen of sorts busy fashioning wares with their tampering tools skilfully?

Hear the rhythmic sounds of, ‘tok tok tok’ as the tinsmiths/coppersmiths’ hammers kissed their wares sorely hard?

That is precisely the loud and monotonous calls a Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) would sound like from a distance to give itself away. Otherwise, the 17cm bird would be in obscurity when perched under tree canopy.

For a little bird adorned in feathered, giant yellow goggles and makes such big noises, certainly lives up to its name as the bird that sounds like a coppersmith tampering with his tools!

Let us meet Blowfish- the resident Coppersmith Barbet in my neighbourhood.

Blowfish wears a red bib edged with yellow, frilly trimmings. Its bib matches the bright colour of it’s forehead with contrasting black eye band and wears a huge yellow eye patch (above left).

Let’s zoom in on Blowfish’s throat and upper chest to observe the anatomical and mechanical aspects when it began a half-second per call musical repertoire on the same musical scale note (above middle and right: front and side view).

Blowfish was about 40 feet up the albizia (Paraserianthes falcataria) canopy tree top. I was 40 feet away from the same tree.

Nine sequential images are provided in continuous shoot mode and zoomed maximum for close examination of the bellowing throat and upper chest areas. All images were taken in one minute total. (above and below: left to right). They speak a thousand words.

Notice the throat sac inflating, peaks and eventually ‘loses steam’ while the ‘tok tok tok’ calls continued chasing at half a second from each other. A side view showing throat sac losing steam (below left).

The ‘love’ calls came to halt when the throat sac collapsed (above middle and right).

Blowfish went dumb.

Readers’ are most welcome to deliberate on the mechanical call aspects of Blowfish- the Coppersmith Barbet, mascot bird of my backyard under comment provided.

Join me again soon to take on a flight of adventure with Blowfish and discover the mission of its flight (left).

All Images by digiscopy method. Optics used: Fieldscope ED82 + 30x + Coolpix P3

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