White-eared Barbets

The White-eared Barbets (Stactolaema leucotis) is a South African Barbet that is found in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, where they live in the coastal forest belts. They are locally common and are usually seen in flocks.


The White-eared Barbets are usually about 20 – 25 cm long, plump-looking, with large heads. Their heavy bill is fringed with bristles.

A Bird Perched on Tree White-eared Barbets
A Bird Perched on Tree White-eared Barbets

African Barbet Information … African Barbet Species Index … African Barbet Photo Gallery

Diet / Feeding

These mostly solitary birds eat a variety of fruits. They will also visit plantations and take cultivated fruit and vegetables. Fruit is eaten whole and indigestible material such as seed pits is regurgitated later.

They will also feed on insects, such as ants, cicadas, dragonflies, crickets, locusts, beetles, moths, mantids – sometimes even scorpions and centipedes. They may also eat lizards, frogs, and geckos.

Nesting / Breeding

They usually roost communally and nest in holes bored into dead trees, branches, or stumps – occasionally in riverbanks or termite nests.

The hen usually lays between 2 to 4 eggs that are incubated for 13–15 days. Nesting duties are shared by both parents.

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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