We were looking up at a COPPERSMITH BARBET on the branch of a rain tree, when I realized that she was actually going into her nest! So I caught her as she peeped out of her home..
As we watched the the barbet coming out and going in again (I don't know if she already has eggs or nestlings in there)...suddenly the villain (villainess?) of the piece appeared...red-eyed, dappled...the female ASIAN KOEL.
The koel lays her eggs in other birds' nests; and this one had obviously seen the barbet, and was waiting to see where the nest was. She kept hopping up and around the branch, trying to spot the female barbet!
The male barbet was on a branch above them; he had just started hopping down towards the nest when he,too, spotted the koel, and kept to his branch, merely looking down carefully to see what was happening...
Then an even more surprising thing happened. The koel indulged in the "lame wing behaviour" which I have only seen so far in other birds...she pretended that one wing was broken!
I still cannot understand why she did this. Did she hope to decoy the female barbet out of her nest, or get the male to come over to chase her away? I am hoping to get some answers from the experts...but her behaviour really rooted Vijay and me to the spot, watching!
But the barbet couple were too smart to fall for this ploy, and the female stayed put inside her nest, and the male on the branch above, until the koel finally gave up and flew away (she did a thorough job of searching up and down for the nest, not realizing that the hole was facing downwards.) Even then, the male didn't come down, but the female flew quickly off, as if fearing that the koel might be somewhere around and would quickly come to the nest.
We were utterfly fascinated by this whole scenario, and left, talking about what we had seen....if we have a few trees around us, we might not require soap operas on television at all!
Pictures from now on will return to regular size folks, sorry for overwhelming you! Instead of a television soap opera, you got the Barbet-Koel drama on what amounts to a cinema screen....!