Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brown Headed Barbet

A Brown Headed Barbet, also called the Large Green Barbet, photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Brown Headed Barbet, also called the Large Green Barbet, photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Brown Headed Barbet, also known as the Large Green Barbet, is a common resident throughout the island and frequently visits our garden in Colombo. It is a resident breeder in India and Sri Lanka. It is often found in heavily built up areas where there is heavy tree cover.  Read on for more images and info.

A Brown Headed Barbet, also called Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka
A Brown Headed Barbet, also called Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Barbet gets its name from the bristles which fringe their heavy beaks. The family of Asian Barbets comprises of 26 species and range from Indonesia to India and north to Tibet. They are usually plump looking birds with large heads and beaks and short tails and necks. None of the Asian Barbets are considered to be threatened. However, some of the species are known to be intolerant of deforestation and require old growth forests to thrive.

A Brown Headed Barbet, also called the Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka
A Brown Headed Barbet, also called the Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Brown Headed barbet feeds mainly on fruit but is also known to prey on insects. It is known to visit bird trays if fruit is provided. A wide range of insects are known to be taken. These include ants, cicadas, dragonflies, crickets and beetles. Fruits are eaten whole and indigestible material such as seeds are regurgitated later. Because of this behaviour, Barbets are thought to be important in terms of seed dispersion in tropical forests.

A Brown Headed Barbet, also called Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka
A Brown Headed Barbet, also called Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Barbets build their nests by excavating a nesting burrow, usually high up on an exposed branch or tree trunk, out of reach of most predators. Normally a clutch comprises of 2 - 4 eggs which are incubated for 13 - 15 days.

A Brown Headed Barbet, also called the Large Green Barbet, photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Brown Headed Barbet, also called the Large Green Barbet, photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Brown Headed Barbet is around 27cm in length and is considered to be one of the larger species in the family Megalaima. It is easily distinguished form other barbets by its size, the exposed yellow skin around the eye and the streaked brown head.

A Brown Headed Barbet, also called Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka
A Brown Headed Barbet, also called Large Green Barbet, photographed in Colombo, Sri Lanka

I photographed these birds in DDecember and January in Colombo as well as Anuradhapura. I used the Canon 7D with the 100-400mm lens.

Other images / info on Barbets


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