“What sets Brown Barbets (Calorhamphus fuliginosus) in the genera of Barbets (Megalaiminae) apart from their cousins is that in taxonomic sense, they are free standing, belonging to a class of their own- ‘Calorhamphus’.
“Of smaller size as compared to their chunky big cousins, they are brown with no green plumage and also do not have rictal bristles to interestingly aid in catching flying insects. Lifestyle wise, they are the only group of barbets who live partly communal and forage in small parties.
“Known to be mainly frugivores and have a penchant for figs, they have been observed to partake of other foods.
“Lets take a look at how they dealt with their unique ways of eating and the various kinds of foods lesser known that I have managed to photograph in the past.
“Here a female parent in Borneo was seen offering a lizard to her young chick (above left). A Bornean male could not resist the nectar purple blooms of the epiphytic climber – Poikilospermum suaveolens (above right).
“An over-ripe, black berry was simply too juicy to be refused by this massive bill of a female in Peninsula Malaysia (above left).
“One could sympathise with this parenting male–woodcutter when hard, demanding times called for tough measures to break dried branches in search for wood live-in insects in Borneo (above right).
“Going on party raids has to be one of the highlights of this female especially when succulent and nutritious oil palm fruits could be freely had in private resorts (left).
“Life is never boring for these Brown Barbets as they have been observed to drum up strategic ways of obtaining and eating their foods creatively. After all birds simply eat to live.
“Do join me in PART 4 to view pictures that speak a thousand words and re-enter the world of these Brown Barbets and be amazed what these little ‘Kung- fu’ creatures are capable of…”
Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
8th May 2013
COPYRIGHT ARTICLE AND ALL IMAGES: COURTESY OF DAISY ONEILL BIRD CONSERVATION FUND