“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