Vocalisation of Coppersmith Barbet

on 6th April 2011

“The Coppersmith Barbet’s (Megalaima haemacephala) metronomic call has been likened to a coppersmith striking metal with a hammer. It can be heard from afar but difficult to locate.

“On this occasion I was fortunate to have a clear view of the bird in an African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata). It was making the animated calls with its bill closed in response to another one, probably its mate a short distance away in another African tulip tree. I had earlier heard but unable to locate it when I walked past that tree.

“In the video, recorded on 17 Feb at about 7pm, many other bird calls can be heard, they are: Javan Mynas, Asian Glossy Starlings, Collared Kingfisher, Black-naped Orioles, Hill Myna, and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo in its repetitive metallic clinks.

“I have also attached a sound clip (Barbet Call2.mp3) with 4 calls HERE. This is an extract of the barbet’s calls from the video, edited with Audacity to remove other birds’ calls and environmental noises. For analytical purposes, the attached ‘Barbet Call Sonogram.jpg’ is a composite picture showing colour visual representation of the sound clip (left). The rectangular box on top is the conventional sonogram in colours showing the 4 calls, while the 4 square boxes below show the 3D graphical views of the 2nd call in different perspectives.

“For those who need a basic understanding of the science of sound, and the interpretation of bird calls using sonograms, there are two excellent articles. They are ‘Seeing the Sound’), and ‘Understanding Sonograms’. Incidentally, the author of the second article offers lots of birding tips.

“By the way, the Sonogram 3.0 which I am using is a free software. It can be downloaded from HERE.

“To enable the Sonogram 3.0 to run the 3D views, you need to download from Oracle, the Java 3D 1.5.1 software HERE.

Sun Chong Hong
20th March 2011

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.

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