Meet the Pokpok: A Noisy and Colorful Bird of the Philippines


Noisy, colorful, and often conspicuous: That’s how birders describe the coppersmith barbet, locally known as the pokpok. According to the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, the pokpok is often seen perched on exposed dead branches in canopies. 

The pokpok got its name because of the sound it produces, which is a metronomic call that sounds like the low-pitched hammering of a coppersmith. If you didn’t know it was a bird making the sound, you’d mistake its call for the clanking of a bottle against a metal rod.

Photo by Shutterstock.

Photo by Shutterstock.

The pokpok or coppersmith barbet has a striking green plumage on its upper body, light gray to yellow underparts, a bright red streak on the forehead, soft yellow flecks around its eyes, and orange shanks and toes. 

Currently, the coppersmith barbet is listed as “least concern” in the IUCN’s conservation status database. The bird is found throughout the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. 

The Pokpok is a Pest Eater

There are many species of barbets around the world, but the coppersmith barbet or pokpok is the only species that is found in the Philippines. According to Haring Ibon, the pokpok can be found in cities. You might have even heard its familiar call in the morning or late afternoon. 

The bird is considered essential to the ecosystem because of its diet of fruits, seeds, and small insects. It disperses seeds throughout its environment and keeps trees healthy by picking out termites

Photo by Shutterstock.
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“It is mainly frugivorous (meaning fruit-eating) but will occasionally consume insects, especially winged termites. It uses its chisel-like bill in carving out holes in trees for nesting,” reads the post by Haring Ibon. 

Listen to the sound of the pokpok’s call below. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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