Each species of the 80 species of the barbet bird is multicolored and fascinating to observe. These species of tropical birds constitute the family Capitonidae and the order Piciformes. The barbet was named so because of the bristles located at its sharp and stout bill's base. All species possess large heads, short tails, and measure between 3.2–13.8 in (8–35 cm) in length. The coloration of the plumage varies from species to species. It can have feathers of black, white, red, brown, orange, yellow, green, purple, and blue colors. The cutest barbets are the ones that are the smallest in size and they are called tinkerbirds! This family ranges across the American continent from Central America towards Southern America, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. When not feeding, the barbet is known to sit calmly on treetops or climb just like woodpeckers. Their diet comprises insects, lizards, birds’ eggs, fruit, and berries. All species of the barbet bird fly weakly. The nest of this bird is dug with its beak and is a hole in a rotting tree or termite nest. The call of the barbet is very loud and involves it jerking its short tail or head. The female and male are known to call in a duet repeatedly and can sometimes be annoying to their listeners! Keep reading to get to know more exciting facts about the nest, feeding, range, and more of the barbet bird!
It is a tropical bird whose multiple species constitute the order Piciformes and the family Capitonidae. All barbets were not in separate families before. They were treated as only one. But, they ended up being paraphyletic with toucans. Therefore, the barbets that retained their place in Capitonidae were only the New World true barbets. Asian barbets (Megalaimidae), African barbets (Lybiidae), and the toucan barbets are not a part of the Capitonidae.
What class of animal does a barbet bird belong to?
The barbet bird belongs to the class of Aves.
How many barbet birds are there in the world?
The total population of the species of barbet birds has not been evaluated yet. However, we do know that most of the species are facing habitat loss which has caused a decline in their population. This has led to the IUCN classifying many species as Threatened.
Where does a barbet bird live?
The barbet can be found inhabiting a wide variety of habitats depending upon the species and the location. It can be seen residing in tropical forests, forest edges, gardens, secondary forests, parkland, drier, thornbush habitats, and suburbs. It ranges across the American continent from Central America towards Southern America, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.
What is a barbet bird's habitat?
The typical residence of the barbet is lowland tropical forest in Central and Southern America and the Asian continent. It is often spotted near fruit-bearing trees that produce many fruits. Especially in the Asian and the African continent, the trees attract barbet into towns, city parks and gardens. The barbet species can be seen residing in artificial woodlands and from coconut to pine plantations as well. Not many details are known about the nesting process of many barbet species. However, deadwood is known to be quite essential for the barbets to dig holes for nesting. They might utilize tree holes also as their nest. Many species reside in bushy and thorn thickets places. The tinkerbird's preference of residence includes forest edge, dense undergrowth as well as riverside woodland that have tangles growth at the base of any old tall tree. When not feeding, these magnificent birds have been observed to sit calmly on treetops or climb just like woodpeckers. The Megalaima haemocephala, commonly known as the coppersmith barbet, resides in India and prefers plantations of figs, forest edges, gardens, city and village trees, mangroves, and orchards, wherever they can find fruit to eat and broken tree branches to nest. The Eubucco bourcierii, commonly known as red-headed barbet, is seen in forests, living along trails and cut rides and forest edge.
Who do barbet birds live with?
The barbet bird is known to live with its mate in its nest. It is highly territorial and vocal and has been observed to keep away other pairs from its nest. It can even fight among birds for a seat on a tree branch.
How long does a barbet bird live?
The barbet bird species are long-lived birds that build strong bonds with their mates. The lifespan of each species is not known yet. However, we do know that the crested barbet can live for 8-10 years!
How do they reproduce?
For barbet birds to breed they need rotting trees and their branches. They mark territory as big as 50-120 acres (20-50 ha). Males call females at a lower pitch and both of them tend to duet more during the nesting period. The group's primary male performs an aerial display. The pair touch each other's bills and males feed their mate. The female lays one to five eggs and they are incubated for 33-35 days. The parents can produce up to four broods each year. All the members of the barbet group help the parents with feeding the young as well as in incubation!
What is their conservation status?
Many species of the barbet bird have been classified under the Threatened category by the IUCN. Their decline in population is mainly due to habitat loss. Nine species in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia have been listed as Near Threatened.
Barbet Bird Fun Facts
What do barbet birds look like?
The barbet bird possesses a short tail, strong bill, and is big-headed. It measures between 3.2–13.8 in (8–35 cm) in length. The coloration of the plumage varies from species to species and be of black, white, bright red, brown, orange, yellow, green, purple, or blue. The base color of several species is bright green, along with red, yellow, white, or blue spots present around the head. The Asian and African species aren't dimorphic when it comes to coloration, unlike South American barbets whose plumage coloration varies with sex. The throat and forehead are usually brightly colored. The coppersmith (Megalaima haemacephala) of the genus Megalaima has a crimson-colored throat and forehead.
How cute are they?
These bright-colored barbets are very cute to look at. However, their repeated calls can be very annoying.
How do they communicate?
Barbets are known to be very vocal birds. Their call is extremely noisy and comprises of them jerking the head or tail. Males call females at a lower pitch and both of them tend to duet more during the nesting period.
How big is a barbet bird?
The length range of this bird is 3.2–13.8 in (8–35 cm) which is similar to that of the sunbird!
How fast can a barbet bird fly?
The speed of the barbet bird has not been evaluated. However, we do know that all species of barbet bird fly weakly.
How much does a barbet bird weigh?
The weight range of these birds is 0.3–7.2 oz (8.5–203 g).
What are the male and female names of the species?
Like all other birds, the male can be called a cock and the female can be referred to as a hen.
What would you call a baby barbet bird?
The young of the barbet bird is known as a chick.
What do they eat?
Barbets feed predominantly upon lizards, insects, fruits, birds’ eggs, and berries, especially the wild figs that fruit seasonally. The fruit is eaten completely and the material that is indigestible like seed pits, are thrown out. They take out the fecal material from their nest to make it less noticeable for predators. The young are preyed upon by snakes and larger birds, specifically Shikras, brown hawk owls, and plate-billed mountain toucans. Squirrels are also known to invade their nests.
Are they dangerous?
Wild barbets are known to be quite aggressive and territorial. They have been observed to chase away other pairs of birds from their nesting location. They might even attack or harass mammals.
Would they make a good pet?
Yes, barbets can be good pets if kept either alone or in pairs. They need a large enclosure that is well planted. They are known to attack large birds even in captivity and non-receptive females as well.
Did you know...
All species of the barbet birds are non-migratory!
What is the other name of the barbet bird?
The barbet was named so because of the bristles located at its sharp and stout bill's base! The cutest barbets that are the smallest in size are called tinkerbirds! The coppersmith barbet is commonly referred to as the coppersmith and the crimson-breasted barbet also.
Is a barbet a woodpecker?
The barbet bird and woodpecker bird are relatives and belong to the same order Piciformes. They are distinct from each other and all the species have different appearances. However, all have a similar preference of dwelling location.
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