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Alex’s Bird Chirp No. 9 – Tinkerbirds and Barbets Continued…


The Black-collard Barbet is a chunky, medium-sized barbet (20cm) with a yellowish belly and red face which is raggedly edged with a bold black cowl and breast band. In some forms the face is instead white or yellow. Pairs are resident in the canopy and mid-strata of a variety of open and closed moist woodlands, riverine forest, and cultivated areas, where they glean fruit and insects. Pairs sing a colourful and characteristic synchronised duet, “two-pudley, two-pudley, two-pudley”, repeated ten to twenty times with the birds facing each other and bobbing their heads.

Black-collard Barbets excavate a 45-55m hole in dead tree stumps and is also parasitized by the Lesser Honeyguide.

The Crested Barbet favours drier woodland, especially acacia like in our western shore areas but will also visit gardens and parks. The Crested Barbet is the largest of the barbet species (24cm) and can easily be identified by its unmistakeable thick bill and very colourful plumage. This barbet has a speckled yellow and red face with a small black crest. The belly is yellow with red speckles, wings are black with white specks and it has a broad black band on its neck. Yellow head and body with black and white feathers, red markings on end of body, its colour blends well in the bush. They have a distinct loud and sustained unmusical trill tr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r….. almost like an alarm clock with the bell removed. Being the largest barbet, the crested barbet feeds on insects, other birds’ eggs and fruits and sometimes mice. Crested barbets are aggressive towards other birds in their territory and chase off both nest competitors such as other barbets and other birds such as doves and thrushes. Crested Barbets are parasitized by the Greater Honeyguide and lesser Honeyguide.