Friday, 29 March 2013

Crimson-fronted barbet

Megalaima rubricapillus

Photo by P.J. Vasanthan (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
crimson-fronted barbet (en); barbudo-de-faces-vermelhas (pt); barbu à couronne rouge (fr); barbudo capirrojo (es); Malabarschmied

Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

This species is found in south-western India, from Goa to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and in Sri Lanka.

These birds are 15 cm long and weigh 35-40 g.

The crimson-fronted barbet is mostly found in moist tropical forests, but also along rivers and streams, in coffee plantations, rural gardens and arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.300 m.

They mainly feed on fruits, especially Ficus retusa, Ficus gibbosa and Ficus tsiela, but will also take a wide range of insects such as grubs, termite alates, ants, cicadas, dragonflies, crickets, locusts, beetles, moths and mantids.

Crimson-fronted barbets breed in January-March. They nest in tree holes, which they excavated on the underside of thin branches. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated for 13-16 days. The chicks fledge about 35 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described is reported to be locally common. The population is believed to be declining, but it is not considered threatened at present.

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