Stactolaema leucotis (White-eared barbet) 

Witoorhoutkapper [Afrikaans]; iNtunjana [Zulu]; Witoor-baardvogel [Dutch]; Barbican oreillard [French]; Weißohr-bartvogel [German]; Barbaças-de-orelhas-brancas [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Piciformes > Family: Lybiidae

Stactolaema leucotis (White-eared barbet) Stactolaema leucotis (White-eared barbet) 

White-eared barbet, Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

White-eared barbet, Mtunzini, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

The White-eared barbet occurs in a band from Tanzania and Kenya to Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal, generally preferring moist woodland. It mainly eats fruit, especially Ficus (wild figs), foraging in the tree canopy. 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 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes and 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% was figs) .

Distribution and habitat

It occurs in a band from Tanzania and Kenya to Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal. In southern Africa it is locally common in the moist miombo (Brachystegia) and mahobohobo (Uapaca) woodland of Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe, also occupying moist lowland forest in KwaZulu-Natal.

Distribution of White-eared barbet 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.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Pallid honeyguide and Lesser honeyguide.

Call

 
   

Recorded by June Stannard, Ndumu Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal 1967, [© Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

Mainly eats fruit, especially wild figs (Ficus), supplemented with insects. It does most of its foraging in the tree canopy. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • fruit
      • Ficus (wild figs)
      • Diospyros natalensis (Small-leaved jackal-berry)
      • Bridelia micrantha (Mitzeerie)
      • Antidesma venosum (Tassel-berry)
      • Apodytes dimidiata (White-pear)
      • Scutia myrtina (Cat-thorn)
      • Sideroxylon inerme (White milkwood)
      • Mimusops caffra (Red milkwood)
      • Harpephyllum caffra (Wild-plum)
      • Dovyalis longispina (Kei-apple)
    • nectar of Aloe marlothii (Mountain Aloe)
  • Insects

Breeding

  • It is a monogamous cooperative breeder, with the breeding pair being helped by 1-6 helpers.
  • The nest is usually excavated by the breeding pair, sometimes accompanied by helpers. It consists of a chamber dug into the underside of dead branches of trees, mainly Ficus (wild fig), but also Erythrina (coral-tree) and Syzygium (water-berries).
  • Egg-laying season is from August-March, peaking from October-December.
  • It lays 3-6, usually 4-5 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes and the nest helpers, for 14-18 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for about 39 days, and are fed about 64% insects and 36% fruit (of which 99% is Ficus). The following food items have been recorded in the chicks diet:
    • fruit
      • mainly Ficus (wild figs)
    • insects
      • Orthoptera (crickets and grasshoppers)
      • Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)
      • cicadas
      • cockroaches
      • wasps
      • hornets

Threats

Not threatened.

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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