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Crested Barbet
(Trachyphonus vaillantii)

Crested Barbet

General description

This Crested Barbet is the largest barbet in its region and very distinctive. It has a speckled yellow and red face with a small black crest and thick bill. The belly is yellow with red speckles, wings are black with white specks and it has a broad black band around its neck.

They have a distinct loud, sustained "tr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r" shrill that is likened to an alarm clock with the bell removed.

Name & classification

Scientific name:
Trachyphonus vaillantii

Common names:
Crested Barbet (English)
Kuifhoutklapper (Afrikaans)

Roberts VII english name:
Crested Barbet

Roberts VII scientific name:
Trachyphonus vaillantii

African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Further information



Crested Barbets are omnivorous, often feeding on insects on the ground and a wide range of fruit. They have been recorded feeding on nectar.

They are found singly or in pairs. They like to bounce around on the ground looking for food and do not fly easily and then only for short distances.

Crested Barbets are aggressive towards other birds in their territory and chase off both nest competitors such as other barbets and other birds.

They have been recorded to have attacked rats and killed snakes.

They nest in a hole in a tree or a log in a suburban garden and they are monogamous and territorial during breeding. Territory size varies according to their habitat.

One to five eggs are laid at daily intervals between September to December. Incubation lasts between 13 and 17 days, beginning with the second or third egg and mainly by the female.

The young hatch naked and blind. They are fed insects by both parents and faecal material is removed regularly. They fledge after about 31 days.

Up to five broods have been recorded in a breeding season.

Natural distribution:
Fairly common throughout Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces.

It is found in forests, savannah, suburban gardens, woodland thickets and watercourses.

Occasionally parasatised by Greater and Lesser Honeyguides.

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