View Full Version : Feeding behaviour of young Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica) by their parents

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:22 PM
I was lucky to witness some moments of the feeding of a pair of young Blue-throated Barbet by their parents in front of our house.But I could not see their nest building patters, incubation etc due to my very busy daily work schedules. I observed their feeding trips in a somewhat haphazard manner on two different days. Now I am presenting some pictures sequentially; along with that I would like to share with everyone some of my observations regarding their feeding behaviors. The nest was constructed by digging a hole in a coconut tree trunk.

1. Although the BTBs are mainly frugivorous the parents insist on feeding their babies healthy amounts of different types of Insects on regular basis.

2. They strictly maintain a gap of about 10 to 12 minutes in between two consecutive feeding trips.

3. On my first day's observations I found that they feed their babies different insects on two to three successive trips and in the next trip they feed fruits and this cycle continued throughout the day.

4. On the next day I found that they are feeding two trips of Insects followed by two trips of fruits.

5. The Insects they feed consisted of beetles, fly, robber fly, dragon fly, larvae and spiders. And the Fruits included different berries, flesh of lichi, ripe papaya, banyan fruits etc.

6. Both of the parents are feeding their babies in terms.

7. Their not only feeding their babies, they are at times entering the nest without any food and attending their child.

8. Most of the time they are found to chew the solid food turning it to a semi-fluid pulp suitable for the young babies.

9. They clean up the nest at least thrice a day and dispose of the garbage carrying it in their mouth at least 20 metres away from the nest.

10. The young birds can emit high pitched but feeble sounds within three days after hatching.

In this picture, the barbet is seen holding a dragonfly in its beak.

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:29 PM
Roopak ji
Please advise me how I can upload more than one picture in single thread so that I can present full sequence in a single thread


Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:33 PM
In this image the Barbet is seen with fruit of banyan tree

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:34 PM
Barbet feeding 3: With spider in its beak

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:35 PM
Barbet feeding 4: Barbet with ripe papaya in its beak

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:36 PM
Barbet feeding 5

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:37 PM
Barbet feeding 6

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:38 PM
Barbet feeding 7: Barbet with lichi fruit in its beak

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:39 PM
Barbet feeding 8

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:40 PM
Barbet feeding 9

Samrat Sarkar
08-05-2015, 04:41 PM
Barbet feeding 10

Roopak Gangadharan
08-05-2015, 06:26 PM
Hi Samrat,

you can only add one image in a post. Multiple images need to be added just as you have done. This also ensures that you can describe the sequence with relevant details accompanying each pic.

This is a nice series, you seem to have been very patient and the result is evident in some minute observations and really well made and interesting images. Something I wud like to add is that birds typically do not chew their food as they do not have teeth, however some species do crush the food through the thick bill action i guess that's what you intended. I dont think premastication happens in birds, but regurgitation to feed the young is well known in many species. Also Barbets regularly feed on insects and even small reptiles like lizards and frogs.

Is image no-5 of the bird cleaning up the nest?


Sabyasachi Patra
08-05-2015, 08:12 PM
Nice series of images. The difference between a birder counting a lifer and a photographer/naturalist waiting to document each action over a period of time can be clearly seen. It increases our understanding of the species. It dispels some of the beliefs that some animals/birds are "strictly Veg". Each image can be further explained as Roopak mentioned. If you are not able to edit each post, then a subsequent post can detail the image numbers with a bit of explanation.

Mrudul Godbole
10-05-2015, 02:47 PM
Very interesting observations and lovely images to go with it. I have seen coppersmith barbets nesting in the bark of the African Tulip tree infront of my house. Thanks for sharing this detailed information.

Samrat Sarkar
14-05-2015, 11:53 AM
@ Rupak ji
Your observations have enriched my knowledge, and you were right to mention that 'The Picture no - 5' is the act of nest cleaning. Thanks a lot.

@ Sabyasachi da
I am elated to read your complements that I'm a photographer/naturalist waiting to document every actions of the wild rather than a simple birder and that is what I really want to become and is my highest priority over any other passion or hobby.
Image no - 1 is of feeding dragon fly.
Image no - 2 is of feeding banyan fruit.
Image no - 3 is of feeding spider.
Image no - 4 is of feeding rip papaya.
Image no - 5 is of cleaning up nest.
Image no - 6 is of feeding banyan fruit.
Image no - 7 is of feeding flesh of lichi.
Image no - 8 & 9 is of feeding fly.
Image no - 10 is of feeding berries.

@ Mrudul ji
Thank you so much for you comments..