Wild Birds

Moustached Barbets

Moustached Barbets (Megalaima incognita)


The Moustached Barbets, Megalaima incognita, 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.

The Moustached Barbets is a resident breeder in the hills of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. It is a species of broadleaf evergreen forest from 600-700 m.

Moustached Barbets on a Tree
Moustached Barbets on a Tree


This barbet is 23 cm in length. It is a plump bird, with a short neck, large head, and short tail. The bill is a dark horn, and the body plumage is green. The adult of the form, M. i. elbeli, which occurs in northern Thailand has a red forehead, green crown with a red spot at the rear, a blue face and throat, and black eyestripe and moustache. Males and females look alike, but the juvenile has a duller, greener head and throat with a narrower moustache.

The other subspecies are nominated M. i. incognita in Myanmar and western Thailand, and M. i. eitroa in southeast Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Diet / Feeding

They primarily feed on fruits, 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.

Calls / Vocalizations

The male’s territorial call is a repeated loud u’ik-a-ruk u’ik-a-ruk u’ik-a-ruk.



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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