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Coppersmith Bird Descriptions

Coppersmith birds (megalaima haemacephala) belong to the barbet family and are more commonly known as coppersmith barbets. These small birds get their name from their call, which has been likened to the sound of a coppersmith striking his hammer against metal. This is a populous species of bird, which can be found across parts of Asia.

Physical Description

Measuring in at around 6 inches in length, coppersmith barbets are the smallest of all species within the barbet family. The majority of their feathers are bright green, but they have yellow areas around their eyes and necks, and bright red feathers on their heads and chests. Males and females look alike, but juveniles of the species are duller in color and don't have any red markings.

Habitat and Range

Coppersmith barbets have a very large range across several parts of south and southeast Asia. Countries to which these birds are native include India, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan and Viet Nam. They're primarily arboreal, which means they like to live most of their lives within trees and rarely come down to the ground. They can often be seen in sparse forests or near agricultural land. You'll rarely find them in any habitats that are either too damp or too dry.


These birds will happily live either alone, in pairs or in small groups of four or five birds. Larger groups can occasionally be seen in fruit trees, but generally just for feeding purposes. Rather than building nests, they like to nest or find shelter in holes in the trunks of trees. During breeding season, both the male and female are responsible for guarding the eggs before they hatch and for feeding the chicks until they fledge.


Coppersmith barbets find sustenance from a diet composed almost entirely of fruit. There are many wild fruit trees in south and southeast Asia, so they can feast on a range of foods, including figs, guavas, mangoes, lemons and berries. They occasionally eat insects, larvae and the petals of flowers. On average, they need to eat roughly three times their own body weight every day.