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Biology of Indian Barbets

H.S.A. Yahya, Authors Press, 2001, xxvi, 170 p, tables, figs, ISBN : 8172730608, $25.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Biology of Indian Barbets/H.S.A. Yahya

Contents: Prologue. A comprehensive summary. I. Introduction: 1. Taxonomic affinities and distribution of barbets. 2. Physical characteristics of barbets. 3. Method and materials. II. Study area: 1. Habitat preference of birds. 2. Intensive study area. III. Status, distribution and general habits: 1. General habits. 2. Calling behaviour. 3. Significance of calls and vocal displays. 4. Voice versus vision. 5. Roosting behaviour. 6. Roosting pattern. 7. Preening behaviour. 8. Drinking and bathing behaviour. IV. Food and feeding behaviour: 1. Fruiting season and abundance of fruit trees. 2. Food preference. 3. Formation of mixed hunting parties. 4. Competition for food and coexistence. 5. Impact of feeding on coffee. V. Breeding biology: 1. Method of study. 2. Method of opening the nest-hole. 3. Breeding season. 4. Courtship and pair formation. 5. Nest-site selection. 6. Nest defence behaviour. 7. Nest excavation and excavation period. 8. Egg laying, clutch size and incubation. 9. Nest feeding and nestling period. 10. Nest sanitation. 11. Growth rate. 12. Fledging and fledging period. 13. Breeding success. Appendices. Bibliography. Index.

"The barbets are a prominent group of tree-hole nesting birds. They belong to an extensive family (Capitonidae) with members in most tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Though the colou-ration of Indian barbet is largely green, they remain camouflaged mostly and draw attention to themselves by their calls. The name barbets has been derived from French Barbu (=bearded) which is suggested by the presence of nasal and rictal bristles. Food constitutes largely fruits but almost all species also feed considerable amount of insects, especially during breeding seasons.

"Paucity of information on the ecology and biology of the Asiatic barbets prompted an extensive field study by the author on these birds. It seemed desirable also to attempt an explanation of how these birds could coexist in the same restricted habitat, without serious competition and mutual exclusion. The book, thus contains a detail account of their comparative ecology and biology. Feeding impact of barbets on the coffee plantation has also been discussed. Contrary to general belief as minor pest, barbets may help the coffee plantation by picking and eating the White Borer—a serious pest on coffee plant. They also control the teak defoliator caterpillars.

"Barbets are economically important and play a significant role in controlling various harmful insects, in cross-pollination and seed dispersal of trees. Though barbets are presently common at many places, the declining trend in forest cover would be detrimental for their sustainable survival." (jacket)

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