You might have heard it’s characteristic call — tuk, tuk, tuk… but rarely noticed the tiny coppersmith barbet that became the first official Bird of Mumbai on Sunday.
It was bestowed this honour on the seventh annual Mumbai Bird Race and probably was present during the announcement at the Maharashtra Nature Park in Dharavi.
“This tiny creature does not just epitomise the spirit of the city, but has also survived rampant developmental activities,” said Sunjoy Monga, a naturalist and the organiser of the bird race. “It is the only real ventriloquist bird that produces calls resembling the All India Radio pips,” added Monga, while declaring the results of an online poll, which received over 3,000 hits.
The lesser flamingo, oriental magpie robin and the house crow were the others nominated.
“The coppersmiths are a very common bird specie that are popularly referred to as mysterious ghosts since they are heard more often than they are seen,” said Asad Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
“Owing to the increased levels of pollution and encroachment of wetlands these frugivorous (fruit-eating) birds are declining,” said Rahmani, adding that christening the Coppersmith as the bird of the city should in a way help in conserving and protecting them.
However, bird enthusiast, who participated in the race were evidently disappointed, as they had pinned their hopes on the crow. “The crow is an extension of our social system and I am upset that it didn’t make it to the top,” said Ranjana Dudhalkar, 42, a participant.