Coppersmith Barbet: Courtship feeding and mating

The above video clip by Cheong Weng Chun was recorded at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park in Malaysia. It shows a pair of Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) indulging in courtship feeding.

The male flew in with what looks like a couple of figs in his bill to join the female on a perch. Initially she moved away but he kept on approaching with wings flapping, offering the figs. The female then turned towards the male and took the first fig from his bill, turned her head away and swallowed it. He offered her the second fig, held further down the bill. She had trouble retrieving it but finally succeeded. The male next regurgitated some crushed fig and offered it to her before flying off. Satisfied with the feeding, she cleaned her bill against the perch and then preened her breast.

The second video clip shows the return of the male to claim his prize after the earlier courtship feeding. Flapping his wings as he moved on the branch towards her, he then flew behind her. And for the nest few seconds he was trying hard to make cloacal contact as he precariously mounted her. All this time he was vigorously flapping his wings to remain in balance. Did he succeed? He must have as he then rewarded her with regurgitated figs.

Cheong Weng Chun
March 2011

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