Family: Lybiidae (African barbets and tinkerbirds)

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Species indigenous to southern Africa

Lybius torquatus (Black-collared barbet) 

The Black-collared barbet is one of the most common barbets in Africa, being found from the DRC to Kenya, extending south to southern Africa, occurring in a variety of habitats. It eats mainly fruit, with the rest of its diet composed of insects and nectar. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is a hole usually on the underside of dead branches of trees, preferably softwood trees like Ficus (wild fig). It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for roughly 18 days. The chicks stay in the nest for about 33-36 days, and are fed fruit and insects by both parents.

Pogoniulus bilineatus (Yellow-rumped tinkerbird, Golden-rumped tinker barbet) 

The Yellow-rumped tinkerbird occurs from Senegal east through the Sahel to Uganda, extending south to Angola and the eastern coast of southern Africa. It mainly eats fruit, with the remainder of its diet insects and nectar, foraging in the upper canopy of trees. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is a chamber normally dug into the underside of dead branches. It lays 2-4, usually 3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for an unknown period.

Pogoniulus chrysoconus (Yellow-fronted tinkerbird, Yellow-fronted tinker barbet) 

The Yellow-rumped tinkerbird occurs from Senegal east through the Sahel to Uganda, extending south to Angola and the eastern coast of southern Africa. It mainly eats fruit, with the remainder of its diet insects and nectar, foraging in the upper canopy of trees. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is a chamber in the underside of a dead branch. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes.

Pogoniulus pusillus (Red-fronted tinkerbird, Red-fronted tinker barbet) 

The Red-fronted tinkerbird's distribution is split into two isolated populations - one in north east Africa, the other largely restricted to the south-eastern coastal area in South Africa. preferring riverine forest and valley bushveld. It mainly forages in the upper canopy of trees, feeding on small fruits, especially mistletoes, occasionally hawking insects. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole dug into the underside of a branch, or an upright dead tree trunk. The 2-4 chicks are cared for by both parents, who feed them insects and fruit regularly.

Pogoniulus simplex (Green tinkerbird, Green tinker barbet) 

 

Stactolaema leucotis (White-eared barbet) 

The White-eared barbet occurs in a band extending from Tanzania and Kenya to Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal, where it is locally common in moist woodland. It mainly eats fruit, especially Ficus (wild figs), foraging in tree canopies. Insects such as grasshoppers and cicadas largely make up the rest of its diet. It is a cooperative breeder, with the breeding pair and often helpers excavating the nest, which is a chamber dug into the underside of dead branches. It lays 3-6, usually 4-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes and the nest helpers, for 14-18 days. In one study, the chicks stayed in the nest for about 39 days, and were fed about 64% insects and 36% fruit (of which 99% is Ficus).

Stactolaema olivacea (Green barbet, Woodward's barbet) 

The Green barbet occurs in isolated populations in Africa, including one in southern Africa in the Ongoye forest, KwaZulu-Natal. Due its extremely localized distribition, it is listed as Threatened in southern Africa. Its diet is almost exclusively made up of fruit, especially figs, occasionally eating insects. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a small chamber dug into a dead, decaying upright tree trunk. With one breeding pair, the female produced five eggs which were incubated by both sexes for 18 days. The chicks stayed stayed in the nest for 29 days.

Stactolaema whytii (Whyte's barbet) 

Trachyphonus vaillantii (Crested barbet) 

The Crested barbet occurs from Angola and Zambia south to southern Africa, where it is common in a wide range of woodland habitats. It is omnivorous, eating largely insects when fruit is scarce, although the chicks are fed exclusively insects. Both sexes excavate the nest, which consists of a chamber dug into the underside of a dead branch, defended vigorously against other hole-nesting birds. It lays 2-5, usually 3-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for about 17 days. The chicks stay in the nest for about 31 days, all the while the breeding pair enlarge the entrance hole as they grow.

Tricholaema leucomelas (Acacia pied barbet, Pied barbet) 

The Acacia pied barbet is nearly endemic to southern Africa, its range extending marginally into Angola and Zambia. It mainly lives in semi-arid savanna, but it has recently colonised grasslands, fynbos, orchards and suburban gardens, due to the introduction of alien tree species, especially Acacia. It feeds mainly on fruit, as well as insects, Aloe nectar and flower petals. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is a chamber dug into the underside of dead branches, laying 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 12-18 days. The chicks stay in the nest for about 35 days, and are fed by both parents.

   
 

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