Coppersmith Barbet mating

on 5th February 2018
Coppersmith Barbet by Lena Chow
Coppersmith Barbet by Lena Chow

Lakshmi Ravishankar‘s documentation of a pair of Coppersmith Barbets (Megalaima haemacephala) copulating shows a male flying in to join a female perching on a branch. With a fruit between his bill he slowly approaches her. With each step he flaps his wings until he is by her side. He then mounts her back, this time flapping his wings vigorously for balance.

Not sure whether he succeeds in copulating with her… but he dismounts and ends up beside her. A second try sees him approaching her, again with wings flapping. Another mounting and vigorous wing flapping for balance and he possibly succeeds in making cloacal contact LINK. This time he offers her the fruit he was carrying all the time. She accepts the fruit and he regurgitates another for her. Then he flies off. See HERE and the video below.

An earlier post similarly shows the male passing the fruit to the female only after copulation, although he had it between his bill all the time.

According to Short & Horne (2002), copulation may come before courtship feeding or by an allopreening session, or it may occur with no preliminary displays like bowing, swinging of the body and flipping and cocking of the tail, even flight displays.

Lakshmi Ravishankar
Pune, India
26th January 2018

Short, L. L. & J. F. M. Horne, 2002. Family Capitonidae (Barbets). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 7. Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 140-219.

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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