Monday, August 31, 2009

Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)

If there is any one bird which is consistently noisy and has an amazing stamina for making full throated calls then this is it. It is not a very large bird but its woody call can be heard for miles during the mating season and even afterwards.The barbet usually picks the top of a tall tree so that its throaty wooden calls resonate through out the area.

It flits about noiselessly from tree to tree and its dark green back makes it almost impossible to spot amongst the trees. However a front view reveals the true magnificence of the bird's colour. It has a blue throat with a  crimson crown and forehead and crimson spots on the either side of the base of its bill. It usually pecks out a hole in a dead tree trunk for its nest.

Whenever I saw this flashy bird I assumed it to be a kingfisher. Now that I have observed it for around  four-five months I can identify it by its looping flight quite similar to that of a woodpecker. Even its movement from branch to branch is quite distinctive. It was quite a holy grail for me during the early days because of its attractive looks and I was thrilled when I finally photographed one; that too by chance.

I was in my cousin's place in Moran and busy photographing some Asian Pied Starlings when I saw this flash of blue and green land land on a banana tree. A bunch of almost ripe bananas had been ripped open by a variety of birds and the barbet was taking his turn.

It is a difficult bird to photograph as it is well hidden by its camouflage but fruiting trees are a irresistible lure for this bird and it often exposes itself when fruits are around.  A very beautiful bird and definitely one of my favorites.

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