ACACIA PIED BARBET

These chunky little barbets have an extremely wide range as they occur over most of South Africa. Many years ago I even used to see the odd one in our garden. Acacia Pied Barbets (Tricholaema leucomelas) favour both woodland and savanna, but are especially at home in arid acacia woodland. Tricholaema means ‘throat hair’ in Greek, while leucomelas is Latin for white and black. I find the Afrikaans name, Bonthoutkapper (variegated woodpecker), is an apt one for, like woodpeckers, they bore holes into dead trees into which they lay their eggs.

What stands out for me about their appearance is the vivid red forehead and conspicuous yellow-and-white eyebrows.

Like other barbets, they appear to have a large head and the heavy bill is fringed with bristles.

They are mainly solitary birds which eat fruits, insects, small vertebrates, nectar, and even flower petals.

16 thoughts on “ACACIA PIED BARBET

  1. It fascinates me that the Acacia Pied Barbet hasn’t “urbanised” to anywhere near the same extent that the Black-collared and Crested Barbets have. We often see – and hear – them in many nature reserves but I can’t recall ever seeing one in a town or city.

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    • When our garden was less of the forest it is now, I used to see them now and again. The Red-fronted Tinkerbird used to make a regular appearance too. I suspect they prefer more arid and open areas with trees.

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  2. We have a lot of pied barbets out here. When I first heard their loud shrieking warble I was surprised and thrilled as they sound exactly like a kookaburra does as it builds up to it’s ‘laugh’. That first part of a kookaburra’s iconic song. Like a kookaburra that forgot the second half of his call! 🤣.

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  3. I would have never guessed that this bird bore into wood to make a nest. While the bill looks substantial it doesn’t resemble any woodpecker bills that I have seen. Nice photos of this bird too.

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