Find out who this common bird of Indian backyards is.
The brown-headed barbet (Megalaima zeylanica) is a common bird across northern and central India, but a little less common in southern India, being replaced by its smaller counterpart, the white-cheeked barbet. Both have a metronomic ‘Kuuurrrrrrr… Kutrook! Kutrook!’ call which extends for long periods of time.
They excavate a neat round nest hole in tree trunks, where they lay 3-4 eggs. Both parents feed the hatchlings. They breed in summers. Bright green with streaked brown head. Dull yellow or orange legs with a pink bill. Yellow skin around the brown eye.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Piciformes
- Family: Megalaimidae
- Genus: Megalaima
- Species: M. zeylanica
When US president Bill Clinton came to India in the year 2000, and the US and the Indian Leader Atal Biharee Vajpayee were making a speech from Delhi, they were continuously interrupted by this bird. Whenever they hesitated, or took a pause, the bird would start calling loudly, annoying many listeners. However, the bird was protected under the Indian Wildlife Act of 1972, and thus could not be shot down.
The bird’s call is not made when the beak is opened, instead, the beak is closed and the vibration inside the throat is what produces the sound.