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.