Black-browed Barbets (Megalaima oorti)

The Black-browed Barbets or Muller’s Barbet (Megalaima oorti) is a bird belonging to the Asian barbet family, Megalaimidae.

Black-browed Barbets
Black-browed Barbets


It is 20-23.5 cm long.

The plumage is mostly green apart from the head which is patterned with blue, yellow, and red. There is a black stripe above the eye. The bill is black and the feet are grey-green.

The Chinese name for the bird, “five-colored bird” refers to the five colors seen on its plumage. Because of its colorful plumage and that its call resembles that of a wooden fish, the species is also referred to as the “spotted monk of the forest” in Taiwan.

Distribution / Range

It has a scattered distribution in south-eastern Asia, occurring in Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, eastern Cambodia, southern Laos, south-central Vietnam, southern China (Guangxi), and the islands of Hainan and Taiwan.

Endemic subspecies are found on these two islands and they are sometimes considered to be two separate species: Hainan Barbet (M. faber) and Taiwan Barbet (M. nuchalis).

It inhabits tropical and subtropical forests.

Black-browed Barbets Perched on Tree
Black-browed Barbets Perched on Tree

Diet / Feeding

Black-browed Barbets forage in the upper and middle levels of the canopy.

Breeding / Nesting

It excavates a nest hole in a tree but little else is known about its breeding habits.


  • MacKinnon, John and Phillipps, Karen (2000) A Field Guide to the Birds of China. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Robson, Craig (2002) A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland, London.

Related Web Resources: Asian Barbet InformationAsian Barbet Species … Asian Barbet Photo Gallery

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.

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