Trachyphonus vaillantii (Crested barbet) 

Kuifkophoutkapper [Afrikaans]; iMvunduna [Zulu]; Mbangura (also generic term for woodpecker) [Kwangali]; Malioache [South Sotho]; Chizuvaguru [Shona]; Ludvonca [Swazi]; Ngoko [Tsonga]; Kôpaôpê [Tswana]; Kuifbaardvogel [Dutch]; Barbican promépic [French]; Haubenbartvogel [German]; Barbaças-de-poupa [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

Trachyphonus vaillantii (Crested barbet)  Trachyphonus vaillantii (Crested barbet) 

Crested barbet. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Crested barbet. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

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.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Angola and Zambia south to southern Africa. Here it is common in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and the Free State Province to Limpopo Province. It prefers moist or dry open woodland, with trees such as miombo (Brachystegia) and Mopane (Colospermum mopane). It also occurs in suburban gardens (where it is welcome, as it feeds on snails) and grassland with patches of alien trees.

Distribution of Crested 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 Greater honeyguide and Lesser honeyguide.

Food 

It is omnivorous, eating largely insects when fruit is scarce. It forages for insects mostly on the ground, sometimes flying into foliage to eat fruit. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Animals
  • Plants
    • fruit
      • Rhus (karees)
      • Euclea (guarris)
      • Ficus (wild figs)
      • Diospyros (jackal-berries)
    • nectar
      • Aloe
      • Schotia brachypetala (Weeping boer-bean)

Breeding

  • Both sexes excavate the nest, which consists of a chamber dug into the underside of a dead branch. It is defended vigorously against other hole-nesting birds, sometimes evicting enemy birds out of their active nests!
  • Egg-laying season is year-long, peaking from September-December.
  • It lays 2-5, usually 3-4 eggs at 24 hour intervals.
  • Incubation is done by both sexes, for about 17 days. The female incubates during the night, with the male doing most of the day.
  • The chicks are fed exclusively insects, and stay in the nest for about 31 days. The nest entrance is enlarged as they get older.

Threats

Not threatened, in fact it is common in woodland habitats. It is a great garden bird, as it often almost eliminates the local snail population.

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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