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The Capitonidæ or Barbet Family

Barbets are tree-haunting birds characterised by massive bills. They have loud calls of two or three notes, which they repeat with much persistence. They nestle in trees, themselves excavating the nest cavity. The entrance to the nest is invariably marked by a neat round hole, a little larger than a rupee, in the trunk or a branch of a tree. The coppersmith is the most familiar member of the clan. It does not occur on the Nilgiris, but a near relative is to be numbered among the commonest birds of those hills, being found in every wood and in almost every garden. This bird is fully as vociferous as the coppersmith, but instead of crying, tonk-tonk-tonk, it suddenly bursts into a kind of hoarse laugh, and then settles down to a steady kutur-kutur-kutur, which resounds throughout the hillside. This call is perhaps the most familiar sound heard in the hills. This species is called the lesser green barbet (Thereiceryx viridis) to distinguish it from the larger green barbet of the plains (T. zeylonicus). It is a vivid green bird with a dull yellow patch, devoid of feathers, round the eye. There are some brown streaks on the breast.