Fire-tufted Barbets

Fire-tufted Barbets (Psilopogon pyrolophus)

The Fire-tufted Barbets (Psilopogon pyrolophus) are endemic to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, where are found in mountain forests, along forest edges, and in mature second-growth forests.

They are commonly seen alone or in pairs or small family groups high up in the canopy and mid-level. They prefer dense foliage. They roost in tree cavities.

A Barbet Drinking Water Fire-tufted Barbets
A Barbet Drinking Water Fire-tufted Barbets

This species is reported to be uncommon to locally common (del Hoyo et al. 2002). Its population is suspected to be in decline due to habitat destruction.


They average 30cm in length and typically weigh between 115-139g.

They are strikingly beautiful birds with a flashy “fire tuft”.

Sexes look alike, except that females lack the crimson on the crown, which is replaced with a sooty colouration.

Young birds are generally duller.

Diet / Feeding

They primarily feed on fruits, particularly figs, but will also eat some insects.

Breeding / Nesting

Close-up Image of Fire-tufted Barbet
Close-up Image of Fire-tufted Barbet

They typically breed from February to April. Both parents excavate the nest in a dead tree or limb.

The average clutch generally consists of 2 to 4 eggs, which are incubated for 13 to 15 days.

The chicks are raised by both parents and fledge when they are about 40 days old. They continue to be fed by their parents for another week or so.

Calls / Vocalizations

Their distinct call sounds like cicada.

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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