Gilded Barbets

The Gilded Barbets (Capito auratus) is a species of bird in the Capitonidae family, the barbets, and are close relatives of the toucans.

It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, in the Orinoco River Basin and the western Amazon Basin.

It was formerly considered a subspecies of the Black-spotted Barbet from north-eastern South America.

American Barbet Information … American Barbet Species Index … American Barbet Species Photo Gallery

Gilded Barbets Sitting On A Tree
Gilded Barbets Sitting On A Tree

Distribution / Range

Its natural habitats are tropical moist lowland forests (especially Terra Firme) and woodland. It mainly occurs in lowlands, but also ranges into the lower foothills of the east Andes.

Western Amazon Basin and Orinoco range

The Gilded Barbet ranges in the eastern Andes drainages to the rivers of the western Amazon Basin from eastern Colombia-Venezuela, eastern Ecuador, from north to southeastern Peru, and northern Bolivia; in Bolivia the Barbet only ranges on the headwater tributaries to the northeasterly flowing Madeira River.

The eastern limit in the southwest Amazon Basin is the Purus River west of the Madeira.

In the northwest Amazon Basin, the eastern range limit is central Roraima state Brazil, the south-flowing Branco River. The contiguous range to the northwest of Venezuela is all of eastern Venezuela approaching the Guyana border.

The Gilded Barbet’s range is on the eastern side of the Caribbean north-flowing Orinoco River drainage, but avoids the lower-half riverine strip by 150 km; the range occurs on the upper half of the Orinoco River extending south into the eastern border area of Colombia.

A small range extension goes southeastwards into central Bolivia, which is also a tributary area to the Madeira River.

Yellow Gilded Barbets Perched On A Branch
Yellow Gilded Barbets Perched On A Branch


It has a total length of c. 20 cm (8 in).

Like other barbets, the Gilded Barbet is a thickset, relatively large-headed bird with a stubby bill. The upperparts, tail, wings, and mask are mainly black. The spotty bar over the greater wing coverts (feathers), narrow edging to the remiges (longest flight feathers), and tips to the tertials (= the flight feathers that are closest to the bird’s body along the wing) are yellow.

Additionally, the narrow yellow eyebrows extend as two parallel lines over the mantle. The belly is mainly pale yellow with black streaking to the flanks.

Depending on subspecies, the throat ranges from red to orange, and the crown ranges from deep yellow over brownish-orange to reddish-orange.

The female resembles the male, but with extensive orange-yellow edging to the wing coverts, yellowish streaking to the auriculars and back, and the black streaking of the flanks also extending over the chest. In females from the westernmost part of its range (subspecies punctatus), the throat is streaked black.

Both sexes have dark maroon irises, greyish legs, and a broadly black-tipped grey bill.

Diet / Feeding

It is largely frugivorous (fruit eaters).


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button