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

Rooiblestinker [Afrikaans]; Unogandilanga [Xhosa]; iPhengengempe, isiKhuhlukhuhlu, uNogandilanga [Zulu]; Roodvoorhoofd-ketellapper [Dutch]; Barbion front rouge [French]; Feuerstirn-bartvogel [German]; Barbadinho-de-testa-vermelha [Portuguese]

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

Red-fronted tinkerbird, Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ]

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.

Distribution and habitat

It's distribution is split into two isolated populations - one in north-east Africa and the other largely restricted to South Africa. Within southern Africa it occurs from the southern-most tip of Mozambique along the coast to the  Eastern Cape. It generally prefers gallery forest along rivers or streams, valley bushveld, Acacia woodland and evergreen forest.

Distribution of Red-fronted 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 June Stannard, Ndumu Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 1968, [ Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

Its mainly forages in the upper canopy of trees, feeding on small fruit such as mistletoes and occasionally hawking insects. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • fruits
      • mistletoes
        • Tapinanthus
        • Erianthemum
        • Viscum
      • Carissa bispinosa (Num-num)
      • Scutia myrtina (Cat-thorn)
      • Celtis gomphophylla (Rough-leaved White-stinkwood)
    • Aloe marlothii (Mountain aloe) nectar
  • Insects

Breeding

  • Both sexes excavate the nest, which is usually a hole in the underside of a branch or in an upright dead tree trunk.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-December in KwaZulu-Natal and from August-November in the Eastern Cape.
  • The 2-4 chicks are cared for by both parents, who feed them insects and fruit regularly.

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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