The Black-collared Barbet is a denizen of a wide range of forest, woodland and savanna habitats, also occurring in riverine thickets in more open grasslands and well adapted to exotic plantations and suburban parks and gardens. They feed mainly on fruits and seeds, but will also consume insects and small vertebrates when the opportunity arises. They’re stockily built birds, with adults weighing around 54g and measuring 20cm in length.
Black-collared Barbets are often encountered in pairs or small groups numbering as many as 15. They are highly vocal and have an exquisite repertoire of duet calls – their most recognisable “too-puddly too-puddly too-puddly“ call also is a duet – the first note being uttered by one bird and its mate then singing the second note. The breeding season spans spring and summer, with both members of the monogamous pairs using their heavy bills to great effect in excavating nest holes in dead trees. The clutch of 2-5 eggs are incubated for just short of 3 weeks, with the chicks fledging about 5 weeks after hatching. The pair is often assisted at the nest by other adult members of their group.
The IUCN considers the Black-collared Barbet to be of least concern. In South Africa they occur from the Eastern Cape through Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng to the North West and Free State, and marginally into the Northern Cape, while north of our borders they are to be found thoughout central and east Africa as far as Angola in the west and Kenya in the east.