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

Geelblestinker [Afrikaans]; Sikuta (name also applied to Acacia pied barbet) [Kwangali]; Geelvoorhoofd-ketellapper [Dutch]; Barbion front jaune [French]; Gelbstirn-bartvogel [German]; Barbadinho-de-testa-amarela [Portuguese]

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

Yellow-fronted tinkerbird, feeding mistletoe fruit to chick. [photo Hugh Chittenden ]

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The Yellow-fronted tinkerbird is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly occurring in broad-leaved woodland. It feeds mainly on fruit, especially mistletoe fruits, a tree which largely relies on it to disperse seeds. Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole dug into a dead branch at least 10 cm wide. Here it lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for an unknown period. The chicks are cared for by both parents, calling persistently for food.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, largely absent from the DRC. Within southern Africa it occupies north-eastern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), northern and south-eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers broad-leaved woodland, especially with miombo (Brachystegia) and mistletoes (incl. Tapinthus, Erianthemum, and Viscum), avoiding evergreen forest.

Distribution of Yellow-rumped tinkerbird in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Call

 
   

Recorded by Clem Hagner, Harare, Zimbabwe 1963, [ Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

It feeds mainly on fruit, especially mistletoe fruits (see article at birdinfo.co.za), a tree which largely relies on it to disperse seeds. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • fruit
      • mistletoes
        • Tapinanthus
        • Viscum
    • Erythrina latissima (Broad-leaved coral tree) nectar
    • Senna singueana (Winter Senna) seed pods
  • Insects (rarely)

Breeding

  • Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole dug into a dead branch which is at least 10 cm wide. The breeding pair are sometimes displaced by Tricholaema leucomelas (Acacia pied barbet), who then enlarge the cavity to use as a nest.
  • Egg-laying season is from July-February, peaking from September-October in Zimbabwe and from October-March in South Africa.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for an unknown period.
  • The chicks are cared for by both parents, calling persistently for food.

Threats

Not threatened, in fact well-represented in protected areas.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 
 

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