Covered in a myriad of beautiful multi-colored flecks, this bird easily lives up to its nickname of ‘fruit salad.’
Meet the Crested Barbet
The crested barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii), (‘trachys’=rough, ‘phone’=voice, sound’) is a sub-Saharan bird in the family Lybiidae. A highly colorful bird, Crested barbets have yellow heads with fine red scaling. The chin is yellow too, the face mostly red. The upperparts, including the back and wings, are black with white specks and crescents. The tail is black barred with white, the rump red. Underparts are yellow, with a broad black band, flecked with white on the breast. This is bordered with white, contrasting with the lower yellow breast, streaked with red. There is another broad black band behind the neck, while the belly is yellow.
The female is similar in appearance to the male, though slightly duller.
Both sexes have a short bill, with olive-green bare skin around the eye. Legs and feet are greenish-grey.
The Crested Barbet is common throughout North-eastern South Africa, however, it can also be found in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, and northern Nambia.
These birds like to frequent gardens, parks, exotic plantations, woodlands and riverine bushveld, tree savannahs, and watercourses. They can usually be found at around 200 to 1800 meters in altitude.
Crested Barbet likes to dine on insects and fruit, but will also take worms, snails, and the eggs of other birds.
During the breeding season from September to December, these birds like to nest in a Sisal log (Agave sisalan). The nest is built by both sexes and often includes a tunneled entrance into a large nesting chamber. One to five eggs is laid within, with an incubation period that lasts about 13 to 17 days, done solely by the female. The young are fed by both parents and take about one month to leave the nest. Up to five broods can be raised in one season.
Due to this species’ extremely large range, and relatively stable population, it does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the size criterion set by the IUCN.