Crested Barbet

Trachyphonus vaillantii

Crested Barbets inhabit forests, riverine thickets, woodland and savannas and is a common sight in parks and gardens in our towns and cities. They feed on fruit, insects, eggs and occasionally chicks of other birds and small reptiles and mammals. Crested Barbets are great friends to gardeners, as they are especially fond of snails. They are usually seen singly or in pairs and act aggressively towards other birds, even species larger than themselves. Adults weigh between 60 and 80g.

Like other kinds of barbet, these birds nest in holes in trees that they peck themselves or take over from other birds. Pairs are monogamous and territorial when breeding, which peaks in spring and summer. Clutches consist of 1 to 5 eggs and are incubated mostly by the female for around 17 days. The chicks are fed insects by both parents and fledge when they’re around a month old.

Although currently considered common and of least concern, the IUCN does note that collection for the cagebird trade is causing some populations to decline. Apart from South Africa, where they occur in all provinces with the exception of the Western Cape, the Crested Barbet is found in Tanzania, DRC, Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland.


33 thoughts on “Crested Barbet

  1. Joanne Sisco

    They are especially fond of snails? … we need a couple of them here! We were overrun by snails in our garden this past summer.
    His appearance seems to be a bit ‘chaotic’ … a mess of different colours, but certainly distinctive.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    Wow, the barbets in ecuador are sleeker with more refined colors.. we have at poza honda the quite-special orange-fronted barbet, and then there’s the red-headed barbet with the male and female very different from one another yet both lovely. your crested barbets look like they’d tough scoundrels! it would be fun to put them all in a cartoon script and give them personalities to fit their appearance!


  3. kim blades, writer

    Hi Guys. I love barbets and remember seeing the crested variety in our garden as a child. However they have disappeared from suburban gardens in Durban and even my sister in the Natal midlands only sees them occasionally now. Birds shouldn’t live in cages but in the wild where they belong!


  4. Expatorama

    I love their distinctive trill, but they can be hard to spot. My best ever sighting was when one crashed into a window and was sitting stunned on our balcony for a couple of minutes, meaning I got a really good look as its coloration.

    Liked by 1 person


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