Wild Birds

Golden-throated Barbets

The Golden-throated Barbets, Megalaima franklinii, is an Asian barbet. Barbets are a group of near-passerine birds with a worldwide tropical distribution. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills.

Distribution / Range

The Golden-throated Barbets is a resident breeder in the hills from northeast India east to southwestern China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It is a species of broadleaf evergreen forest from 900-2565 m altitude.


This barbet is 20.5-23.5 cm in length. It is a plump bird, with a short neck, large head, and short tail. The bill is dark, and the body plumage is green, but the subspecies have different head patterns.

The adult northern nominate form has a red and yellow crown, black eyestripe, white lower face neck, and yellow throat.

Males and females look alike, but the juvenile is duller with a weaker head pattern.

Asian Barbet - Head Details
Golden-throated Barbet, Megalaima franklinii

Sub-species / Natural Range and ID

  • M. f. franklin, the nominate race, occurs from India east to northern Laos and southwestern China,
  • M. f. ramsayi is found in central and eastern Myanmar and northern and western Thailand. It has a grey lower throat and grey-streaked black ear coverts (feathers covering the ears).
  • M. f. trangensis occurs in peninsular Thailand. It resembles the nominate form.
  • M. f. minor occurs in the mountains of Malaysia. It resembles the nominate form but has some blue behind the ear coverts (feathers covering the ears).
  • M. f. auricularis is found in the highlands of southern and central Cambodia, central Laos, and Vietnam. It resembles the nominate form but has some blue behind the ear coverts (feathers covering the ears).

Diet / Feeding

They primarily feed on fruits and some flowers, but will also eat a wide range of insects, such as ants, cicadas, dragonflies, crickets, locusts, beetles, moths, and mantids.

Breeding / Nesting

They nest in tree holes and hens usually lay 2 to 4 eggs, which are incubated for 13 to 15 days.

Call / Vocalization

The male’s territorial call is a very loud pukwowk.

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

Golden-throated Barbets

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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