Close encounter with juvenile Coppersmith Barbets

“The following is a short description of a close encounter with juvenile Coppersmith Barbets (Megalaima haemacephala) one late afternoon.

“A juvenile barbet bird was first observed to be picking fruits from a figging tree. From afar, the bird appeared drab lacking vividly colored plumage, resembling more of a juvenile starling at first glance. On closer inspection viewed through a telephoto lens, the avian appeared to be a just-fledged barbet characterised by partially developed red crown and spartan green plumage. The following evening, a family of more than four Coppersmith Barbets were observed to be feasting on the same tree. Members of this family appeared to have developed fully their vibrant hues of red crowns, yellow chins, crimson eye ring, vivid greens on their back, and streaky green under belly. Similar to the barbets observed day earlier, the orange color of their feet appeared incomplete. This is evident by localised patches of white tissue all over the tarsus areas, suggesting that perhaps the barbet observed earlier may be a late fledging chick as compared to the rest of the family members when all have developed full plumage colors.

“Image above-left shows a well developed young Coppersmith Barbet with glowing red crown perched on a branch of the figging tree. Image above-right shows a coppersmith barbet picking a fig by suspending sideways on the fruiting branch.”

Dr Jeff Lim
4th October 2009

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