Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coppersmith Barbet - Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Coppersmith Barbet phoographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
The Coppersmith Barbet - Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Of the resident Barbets of Sri Lanka, I have found the Coppersmith, or Crimson-breasted Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala), the hardest to photograph. I had seen the bird before but it had always been from a distance. Those sightings were not the best for photographing the Barbet as it is quite small.

The Coppersmith Barbet phoographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
The Coppersmith Barbet - Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

My luck changed in July when I found a nest just outside the house in Anuradhapura. I was able to photograph the parents on a fairly regular basis from the verandah, as they flew in to feed the chicks. Each time they flew in with food, they appeared to clean up the nest and fly away with the rubbish.

The Coppersmith Barbet phoographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
The Coppersmith Barbet - Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

According to GM Henry (Birds of Ceylon, 1954), the Coppersmith is found in the dry zone of sri Lanka and "does not penetrate far into the districts which receive the south west monsoon". However, they are not endemic and can be found in South and Southeast Asia. When compared to the other Barbets found in Sri Lanka, it is most similar to the Ceylon small Barbet. However, the Coppersmiths large red breast patch, pale yellow face and dusky green colouration help differentiate the two species.

The Coppersmith Barbet phoographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
The Coppersmith Barbet - Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

These photographs were taken with a Canon 7D and the Canon 100-400mm lens. Conditions were not the best as the bird was in the shade and the sky in the background was blown out. Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to improve on these shots soon.



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