Barbets Birds

Barbets Birds consists of about 75 species of brightly colored tropical birds constituting the family Capitonidae (order Piciformes) and are related to the toucans.

The barbets get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills.

Distribution / Range

Barbets birds are found throughout Central America and in northern South America, in sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia.


These big-headed, short-tailed birds are 3.5 – 12 inches (9–30 cm) long and have stout, sharp bills with bristles at the bases.

Their plumage is greenish or brownish, with splashes of bright colors or white. The smallest barbets are known as tinkerbirds.

Diet / Feeding

They feed on insects, lizards, birds’ eggs, fruits, and berries.

Five-colored Barbets (Capito quinticolor) - Female
Brownheaded Barbet

Calls / Vocalizations

They call loudly while jerking the head or tail. This is a very vocal or repetitious species and is sometimes referred to as “brain-fever birds.”

The barbet families are:

Fire-tufted Barbet (Psilopogon pyrolophus)
Photo of author

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

We love to hear from our readers. If you have any questions or if you want to get in touch with us, you can find our contact details on our About Us page.

Leave a Comment