Family CAPITONIDAE

Bill as a rule stout and strong. Nostrils at base of bill, often overhung by plumes and bristles. Rictal and chin bristles often largely developed. Ventral feather-tract forked on the throat and on each side of the breast. Tail-feathers 10. Wing rounded in all Indian forms, and with 10 primaries, the first short.

Key to the Genera.

a. No green on plumage ; no rictal bristles………………………….CALORHAMPHUS, p. 83,
b. Prevailing colour green; long rictal bristles.
a1. Lower tail-coverts red………………………….MEGALAEMA, p, 84.
b1. Lower tail-coverts green.
a2. 2nd primary shorter than 10th.
a3. Head, neck, and breast brown, more or less streaked ………………………….THEREICERYX, p. 86.
b3. Head and neck with bright colours.
a4. Culmen longer than tarsus………………………….CHOTORHEA, p. 90.
b4. Culmen not longer than taraus………………………….CYANOPS, p. 92.
b2. 2nd primary longer than 8th………………………….XANTHOLAEMA, p. 97.

The Barbets are mainly fruit-eating birds. In the stomachs of the African species that I examined in Abyssinia I found insects in considerable quantities; but although some of the Indian species are occasionally insectivorous, none of them, with the exception of Calorhamphus, feed much on insect food. Indian species, with the same exception, have a peculiar call of one, two, or three syllables, repeated in a singularly monotonous manner for several minutes, then ceasing for a time, and recommencing after an interval. The calls of two or more birds are frequently heard together, the pitch of each bird's note being different. It is often very difficult to tell in which direction precisely a bird is calling, and both the direction and distance appear to vary as the bird turns its head in different ways. Each bird, in the act. of. calling, nods its head in a peculiar manner. All Barbets, so far as is known, excavate nest-holes in trees not unlike those made by Woodpeckers ; the entrance small, generally very well rounded and neatly bevelled, and the inside larger and well smoothed. The eggs, which are white but not so glossy as those of Woodpeckers, are laid on the bare wood, or on a few chips. When making their nest-holes these birds tap to detach the wood, but the action is much slower than that of Woodpeckers.

As a rule Barbets perch, and they do not, commonly at all events, climb stems or branches as Woodpeckers do, but they sometimes cling to a vertical tree. Their flight is undulating, but strong and moderately rapid.

In the plumage of all Indian species, except Calorhamphus hayi green predominates. The sexes are generally alike.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
Family CAPITONIDAE
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1895
Page No: 
82
M_ID: 
9859
M_SN: 
Capitonidae
Volume: 
vol. 3
id: 
1380

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith