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White-Cheeked Barbet by Nitin Lokur

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The White-cheeked Barbet or Small Green Barbet (Megalaima viridis) is a species of barbet found in southern India. It is very similar to the more widespread Brown-headed Barbet (or Large Green Barbet) (Megalaima zeylanica) but this species has a distinctive supercilium and a broad white cheek stripe below the eye and is endemic to the forest areas of the Western Ghats and adjoining hills. Like all other Asian barbets they are mainly frugivorous although they may sometimes eat insects and they use their bills to excavate nest cavities in trees. When foraging they are quite aggressive and will attempt to chase other barbets, Koels and other frugivores. The main range is along the Western Ghats south from the Surat Dangs and along the associated hills of southern India into parts of the southern Eastern Ghats mainly in the Shevaroy and Chitteri hills. In some areas such as in the city of Bangalore, it has been suggested that this species may have displaced the Brown-headed Barbet which was once said to occur there. These barbets play an important role in forests as seed dispersal agents. They also visit the flowers of Bombax for nectar and may be involved in pollination.
These barbets are arboreal and will rarely visit the ground. They obtain most of the water they need from their fruit diet. When water is available in a tree hole, they will sometimes drink and bathe.

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