Of insect diet and nesting Coppersmith Barbets (Part 7)

on 4th April 2009

Barbets are generally known to be mainly frugivorous or fruit eating birds in accordance to references made in several bird field guide literatures.

To be knowledgeable in the field of birds is an asset as a keen eye will be able to differentiate the abnormalities, extra ordinaries and rarities from the norm in the life of birds.

Knowledgeable birders with many years of vast field experiences have learnt and acquired such special traits and many aspects of their feathered friends. Some are indeed walking bird encyclopaedias. Whether they are just ‘twitching’ for lifers with zest to chalk up an impressive identification bird checklist or go further to observe and admire their looks and behaviours and how they live or take the road less travelled into conservation work, each have interesting tales to tell.

Bird-photographers and digiscopists are encouraged to do the same as images are undisputed proof of time and evidence for accurate documentation in the field of scientific studies.

My tale began with observing a rare opportunity of chick feeding with a difference. Like viewing a shooting star, one indeed need to be there at the right place, right time, right equipment and a huge dose of birding luck to have Blowfish – the male Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) flying in with a winged insect instead of the regular and countless sorties of chick food- fruits and berries .

Goggle-Eye, the female barbet watched intently three feet away as Blowfish whacked the six legged winger onto a branch to render it lifeless in his beak, before making a quick abseil towards the nest.
I had to make a quick decision as to either photograph Blowfish concussing the insect or keep my scope aiming at the nest cavity.

The correct decision paid off.

The following sequential images showed a two-week old, hungry chick ready to receive the ill fated insect with yellow, fat abdomen and a sting looking tip.

The chick swallowed the insect whole, wings and all in less than one minute making these sequential images, the first recorded digiscopic-photography of a frugivorous Coppersmith Barbet chick being fed on insect.

Insect specialists are cordially invited to identify this somewhat blurry, half image of this six-legged winger.

Which chick received the rare catch? How many chicks were there?

Join me next for a sneak preview of Blowfish and Goggle-Eyes’ chicks.

© Of Insect Diet & Nesting Coppersmith Barbets (Part 7)
ALL Images by Digiscopy technique
Equipments used: Fieldscope ED82 + 30x + P4

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
Visitors Today

Clustrmaps (since 2016)