Asian Barbet Birds

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Barbets are found in the tropics around the world. Barbets as in the Old Word are here treated as two separate families, they are the African Barbets [Lybiidae] and Asian Barbets [Megalaimidae]. The Asian barbets are chunky, mostly small to mid-sized, often colorful and vocal birds, especially the oriental species like ours.  In total, there are 75 species of tropical Barbets, constituting the family Capitonidae (order Piciformes). From the world wide total, in the South East Asia there are only 16 species of Barbets [Megalaimidae] as we know them .

In Malaysia these are the Barbet that we have.

Brown Barbet Calorhamphus fuliginosus
Fire-tufted Barbet Psilopogon pyrolophus
Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineata
Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii
Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos
Golden-throated Barbet Megalaima franklinii
Black-browed Barbet Megalaima oorti
Yellow-crowned Barbet Megalaima henricii
Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala

One notable diagnostic marking of Barbets and perhaps how the name came about - the bristles at the bases of their stout, sharp bills. Most birds have fairly large heads, short-tailed and short legs birds. Most Barbets are of fair size and some are rather large, measuring 930 cm (3.512 inches) long. The smallest being the Coppersmith Barbet is double the  size of a common Babbler. They are always green in color with the exception on one, the Brown Barbet. The prominent features of Barbet is that the green body is complimented with a multi-colored head, cheek and throat. Both sexes look identical. Barbets are termed as Near passerine, as they do perch like one [sparrow used a benchmark] but most time maintaining an upright posture. Next attribute, their calls also reminding us of Tinker bird, whose calls are continuously and repetitive. The Barbets' calls - loud, consisting of a few syllables and repeated over and over again for long period of time. It's not surprising that when you enter the forest and hearing a few species calling simultaneously.

Most of the 70 or so species of Barbets excavate their own nesting cavities. Here again, watch - these tree stumps chosen as nesting sites are usually well-rotted wood. Yes, barbet has very thick bills, that early European associate this bird with the Woodpeckers. They display action like that of Woodpeckers, from a distance, such action easily mar our efforts to ID them, and first impression that it could be a Woody. Among the birds seen in Malaysia, the Gold-whiskered Barbets and Coppersmith were the most often seen behaving like Woodpeckers.

Barbets are mainly frugivorous [fruit-eater]. Very so often in the fields, in places where Barbets are likely to be spotted, we would be on a look-out for tree bearing Berry-like "Barbets fruits". We have associated them with fruits. But, typical of birds, they do consume some insects. I have seen that practice, gleaning insects from branches and twigs.  Most commonly seen would be the Blue-eared Barbet. Most kind of insects, Barbet would consume these opportunistically over and above the fruits they normally eat.

The Barbet, as a species, is one type of bird that brings me a lot of joy. Their calls are loud, their presence is obvious and brings so much hope that it's presence signify - rich bird life in the area. It is nice hearing one, it would even be better if we have caught a glimpse of one. In this table, with the list of names mentioned, they are near a comprehensive list on Barbets seen in Malaysia  I have listed those Barbets that I do have enough pictures of.

1. Black-browed Barbet  Megalaima oorti

Size & diagnostic markings:- 22 cm The Black-browed measuring 22 cm is a medium size Barbet. The most striking feature would be the blue sides on the head, yellow throat bordered by a broad light blue border punctuated with a red dot on the side. Lastly the thick black eye brow.
Distribution :-  This is a bird of southern China, Taiwan and Sumatra
Habitats & preferences:- For us in Malaysia, this is a bird of the dense forest and the most obvious bird in forest with sub-montane climate
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Very common in montane areas, in Awana, Frasers and almost all hill stations.
 My personal jottings :-

This Barbet of average size is 21-23 cm big. For me, when it comes to making an ID, first go for the brow and then reconfirm with the blue faces and yellow throat.

This is a sub-montane bird and this point itself, is a big clue. Normally found in middle attitude of 600m to 1,250 m. Often heard but never seen. Pay particular care to bare branches and the canopy edge, led by its call. During fruiting season, the bird would descend on low and medium height scrubs. That would be the time to get the bird real close and not disturbed by human presence.   Also note that bird is a solitary feeder though many a times in fruiting season, I have seen a group of them 3-4 birds in the same small scrubs but feeding individually. In normal times, they prefer the upper storey which makes them frequently heard but hardly seen. In another extreme, they do visit domesticated garden of private homes, those in the hill resort area. It is during these times when they descend onto low level branches that we bumped into them, hence allowing me a good ID. So very often their presence in the area of birding was denoted by the unmistakable repetitive calls. This is a very common bird in the hill stations, Genting, Awana, Cameron and Maxwell. I cannot stress more about this welcoming fact about hearing their calls - their calls are so assuring to birders that the place has active bird life.

Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos Video with calls


Black-browed Barbet  # 1

Black-browed Barbet   # 2

Black-browed Barbet # 3

Black-browed Barbet  # 4

Black-browed Barbet   # 5

Black-browed Barbet   # 6

Black-browed Barbet   # 7

Black-browed Barbet  # 8

Black-browed Barbet   # 9

Black-browed Barbet   # 10

Black-browed Barbet   # 11

Black-browed Barbet   # 12

Black-browed Barbet   # 16

Black-browed Barbet    # 17

Black-browed Barbet   # 18


2. Blue-eared Barbet  Megalaima australis duvaucelli


Size & diagnostic markings:- 17 cm. This is a small size Barbet. I could only described the sub-species seen in Peninsula Malaysia. This bird has black ear coverts filled with a few red patches on top and below with the third patch on the cheek. Crown and throat blue, and a distinctive black band across the breast.
Distribution :-  This is a bird is resident in Eastern Nepal, north-eastern Indian sub-continent and south west China then down to the Greater Sundas. Also a common bird in Malaysia but hardly seen due to its habits.
Habitats & preferences:- For us in Malaysia, this is a lowland forest bird that prefers  dense forest in the hills and can be up on the high hills but up to the level below sub-montane forest.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Commonly heard in places with dense  forest and low hills, practically on hill rountes across the mountain like the Gap Road.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

This bird is almost as big as the Coppersmith Barbet which is very small compared to the commonly seen Yellow-vented Bulbul. Unlike the Coppersmith, this bird prefer large trees in dense forest. Another common bird that we could hear so often but never seen. Though it is a lowland bird, It prefers higher altitude like The Gap and Bukit Tinggi. They too, were seen in lowland forest like those of Rengit.

As usual, typical of Barbets, their loud continuous calls are easily heard. Now a forest bird with its small size among thick foliages, near impossible to spot until and unless it changes its perched. 

So far, though I could never find them, I have seen this species feeding of the same tree in groups of 10's or even hundreds. Also after the nesting period when the fledglings flew out into the open for feeding. The picture on this page were taken during the bird's visit to a fruiting low Ficus trees. The juvenile shot at Bukit Tinggi and the adult besides a chalet in the compound of Taman Negara, of Kuala Tahan. All times, the birds feeding or resting appeared "tame" and made no attempts to hurry or hide themselves.


Blue-eared [female]  # 1

Blue-eared [female]    # 2

Blue-eared [juv]  # 3

Blue-eared [female]   # 4

Blue-eared [female]   # 5

Blue-eared [female]   # 6

Blue-eared [female]   # 7

Blue-eared [female]    # 8

Blue-eared [female]  # 9

Blue-eared [female]  #10

Blue-eared [female]   # 11

Blue-eared Barbet  # 12

Blue-eared Barbet  # 16

Blue-eared Barbet  # 17

Blue-eared Barbet  # 18


3. Blue-throated Barbet  Megalaima asiatica chersonesus


Size & diagnostic markings:- 23 cm. The Blue-throated is a fair size Barbet. Slim, particularly our Malaysian sub species with a blue face and crown. The supercilium is a narrow black streak much less conspicuous than that on the Black-browed. Then a dash of red on the side of the breast.
Distribution :-  Coming from around the same region of the Blue-eared i.e. North-eastern Pakistan, north-eastern Indian sub continent and south-west China.
Habitats & preferences:- For us in Malaysia, this is a hard to find Barbet as they are always in the canopy level of hills to a region just below the sub-montane level. So very little chances of exploring these forested surroundings.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far, I have these pictures taken in Bukit TInggi
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

In fact, I have no clue as to where to search for the birds other than knowing that this is a birds of the rolling hills. These could only be along the country roads of some altitude leading to the hill resorts of Cameron Highlands and Frasers Hills. With a bit of luck, there was this patch of forest with a few fruiting trees. Somehow the fruits were attractive to a few types of Barbets. Among them was the Blue-throated. What rare opportunity! Got one miserable shot of the adult while the rest of the pictures were those from the juveniles and sub-adult which are not representative. I would say that meeting up one in Malaysia is not easy. Still on a look out for more decent pictures.

In Bukit Tinggi, the birds shown on this page were among a crowd of 4 species of Barbets.


Blue-throated Barbet  # 1

Blue-throated Barbet   # 2

Blue-throated Barbet # 3

Blue-throated Barbet  # 7

Blue-throated Barbet  # 8

Blue-throated Barbet  # 9


4. Brown Barbet  Calorhamphus fuliginosus

Size & diagnostic markings:- 20 cm. This is a stocky little bird but not tiny. Unlike normal Barbet, this is the only Barbet that is not green in color. Almost dark brown on the upper part and lighter brown on the under part. The chest and breast appear a pale color. Distinctive also would be the pink-orange colored leg and feet. The beak in dark grey.
Distribution :-  This is a bird from the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. In peninsula Malaysia, the bird is fairly common.
Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the lowland forest, staying at the canopy level and coming down during the fruiting season. This bird is also seen at the lower level of sub-montane forest like Awana.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Very common in Bukit Tinggi and the Awana Hill resort area. At the same time, the bird frequently seen in low land forest like Perdik.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

I would say that this is a medium size bird of 20 cm. First impression - with its shorter tail, the bird looks small and roundish. Unfortunately its brown color did not help and from distances of over 100 feet high, it is quite difficult to make an instant ID despite of seeing it with a thick bill.

Yes, the bird is found in forest edges below 1,000 m high. Most time, when they are not feeding, I saw them they were in canopy level but actually the bird prefer middle storey.

Again, most times I have seen them in Ampang [lowlands] or in Awana [Sub-montane] the bird is solitary. While they descended for teh fruits, at close range, the reddish feet gave the clue away. Since there were so much of fruits to share, they do get together and became a gregarious bunch. One more point, they do hang themselves upside down. You will find them when the air is filled with lots of noises, and a cluster of few birds together. Or, a quiet loner that is not driven away by human presence.


Brown Barbet  # 1

Brown Barbet   # 2

Brown Barbet # 3

Brown Barbet  # 4

Brown Barbet  # 5

Brown Barbet  # 6

Brown Barbet  # 7

Brown Barbet # 8

Brown Barbet  # 9

Brown Barbet   # 10

Brown Barbet  # 11

Brown Barbet  # 12

Brown Barbet # 16

Brown Barbet   # 17

Brown Barbet  # 18


5. Coppersmith Barbet  Megalaima haemacephala


Size & diagnostic markings:- 17 cm. This is the smallest Barbet as well as the most common one for me. A yellow face split by a black eye stripe. The throat also yellow separated from the face by a sub moustachial stripe. The head - front part of crown red with the top and back in black. Matched by another red band on the upper breast
Distribution :-  This is a bird of the Indian sub-continent, South-west China, then Sumatra, Java, Bali and up to the Philippines.
Habitats & preferences:- The bird prefer lowland with cleared forest edge, parks with tall tree and also in low hills.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Very common in public parks with scattered tall trees. There is also one visiting my garden.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-  

My personal jottings :-

This is one Barbet that is very easy to spot and identified beyond doubts. A Barbet with a few superlatives. The smallest Barbet at 17 cm. Coppersmith barbet chooses tallest naked branches of tree to make its unending calls. Its call very distinctive and familiar. Also on electrical wiring. So for ID, locate the source of the call by scanning bare protruding branches, slight rhythmic bows, look at its size and then the eye.

This bird has preferences for Open park and makes its nest on the under side of dead bough. Even if that bough is near to people home buildings. More often than not, such bough are in low level. Coppersmith Barbet is by far the most widely distributed Asian Barbet, occurring from India to Indonesia and the Philippines. It is also the only non-forest Barbet in Asia.

This is a mixed lowland bird but can be found on low hills up to 900 m high. It is feeding fruits on low trees and scrubs. So next time when you are in the park, or even in the comfort of your own home, be alert to that continuous, single syllabus yet subtle call from afar. I am lucky enough to have one staying in my garden. It starts its calling from 8.00 am in the morning. This morning call lasting about 20 minutes is the familiar single note. Then a respond, a separate call but this one well spaced in between interval. The bird would go away, some where to engage in other chores and would return around 10.30 am. That is when the regular closely made calls are made for 30 minutes. this ritual is repeated at 4.30 pm in the evening. Its perch remains within that few branches day after day.

Its your neighbor hood Barbet calling. 


Coppersmith Barbet  # 1

Coppersmith Barbet  # 2

Coppersmith Barbet # 3

Coppersmith Barbet  # 4

Coppersmith Barbet  # 5

Coppersmith Barbet  # 6

Coppersmith Barbet  # 7

Coppersmith Barbet # 8

Coppersmith Barbet   # 9

Coppersmith Barbet  # 10

Coppersmith Barbet  # 11

Coppersmith Barbet  # 12

Coppersmith Barbet  # 16

Coppersmith Barbet   # 17

Coppersmith Barbet  # 18


6. Fire-tufted Barbet  Megalaima haemacephala


Size & diagnostic markings:- 28 Cm. Though not the largest but this is a big Barbet. This unique bird has ivory-greenish bill with a faint vertical black band at the center. Throat whitish with a yellow band across the chest lined in black. More features - the forehead and lores black with a prominent red tuft appearing as spines from the base of the upper bill.
Distribution :-  This is a bird from Sumatra but also a very common bird in our sub-montane hill stations.
Habitats & preferences:- For us, the Fire-tufted barbet stays in the forest of the sub-montane climate
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- A very common bird in the sub-montane areas, in Awana, Frasers and any hill stations.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

Fire-tufted Barbet is member of the club of big Barbets, though not the biggest. It is 28 cm and has an unique bill. Yellowish with vertical bands at the center.

Though it is a large bird, not easy to spot this green bird among the foliage, even its rough whereabouts is betrayed  by its call.. Its presence is announced by a series of Cicadas type calls. Again quite a common occurrence in the resort areas in Frasers Hills. 

It is not a shy bird and make no attempt to disappeared when human presence detected. Meaning they do visited gardens of holiday homes. I have seen them as a solitary bird but have also seen them in pairs, perhaps it was during the breeding season. Then when it comes to feeding in the fruiting season, the whole community of Fire-tufted would descend on that particular tree.

The Fire-tufted Barbet crawl like a Parrot and in doing so, assisted by it's beak the way Parrot do. With its prominent looking beak, makes it appear larger than it actually is. The black bar on the beak, red tuft and the yellow breast band, resembling a work of art, we nick-named the bird "Picasso Bird". Then those other birders who are used to seeing Toucan, says it has vague resemblance  to a Toucan-Barbet. Having seen it yourself, you will agree that this Barbet looks unique and again, another Barbet which is an easy bird to ID


Fire-tufted Barbet  # 1

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 2

Fire-tufted Barbet # 3

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 4

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 5

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 6

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 7

Fire-tufted Barbet # 8

Fire-tufted Barbet   # 9

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 10

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 11

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 12

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 16

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 17

Fire-tufted Barbet  # 18


7. Golden-throated Barbet  Megalaima franklinii minor


Size & diagnostic markings:- 22 Cm. The Golden-throated Barbet is a medium size Barbet. The most striking feature would be the bright red crown, in the front and rear separated by a yellow patch. The upper throat is also yellow followed with a pale grey lower down. A faint black band across the eye dispersing into streaks.
Distribution :-  The bird is resident to Nepal, North-eastern Indian Sub-continent and south-western China. The bird is commonly spotted in the montane region in Malaysia. Here mainly Gunong Ulu Kali and Gunong Brinchang.
Habitats & preferences:- For us in Malaysia, this is the most obvious bird in sub-montane climate
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Very frequently heard in montane areas but hardly seen. Sometimes on the contary, they may appear on open branches
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

I would say that this is not a common bird to spot, each trip to Gunong Brinchang I never fail to hear their calls and were coming from spots closely nearby. So this is another bird that is easy to ID. Reason - the one and only montane Barbet.

At times, I did get to see this bird, on most when I was there but only momentarily when it left its hiding perch and landing some where I cannot see. There were also during those brief exchanges in glances, the bird would be hoping from branches to branches. Other Barbets would stay in one position for a while, if there was a need to assess it's safety. In total, I had much less chances of a good look at the Golden-throated when compared with other Barbets, hence information about the bird is sketchy. A large bird, after the Javan Cuckooshrike,  in comparison with other birds in the area, but it is in fact a medium size Barbet at 25 cm.

 I feel that the bird prefers area of the mountain ridges. Here it chooses low trees or scrubs [most montane trees are not that tall too] staying just below the canopy. Then, at times it exposed itself at the bare branches, also the preferred spot where it does its calling. Does not comes into contact with human that frequent. So far all my encounter with the bird were accidental but the bird showed no fright and were not disturbed by my presence. A few months back, the bird was reported seen in Awana, an elevation just at the 1,200 m elevation. Got my pictures to fill the page, but, the pictures taken came from a pair of birds in very misty conditions. Could see that the bird was only arm length away from me during this brief encounter. For the pictures taken in misty conditions, details were sacrificed.


Golden-throated Barbet  # 1

Golden-throated Barbet  # 2

Golden-throated Barbet # 3

Golden-throated Barbet  # 4

Golden-throated Barbet  # 5

Golden-throated Barbet # 6

Golden-throated Barbet  # 7

Golden-throated Barbet  # 8

Golden-throated Barbet # 9

Golden-throated Barbet  # 10

Golden-throated Barbet  # 11

Golden-throated Barbet # 12

Golden-throated Barbet  # 16

Golden-throated Barbet  # 17

Golden-throated Barbet # 18


8. Gold-whiskered Barbet  Megalaima haemacephala


Size & diagnostic markings:- 30 Cm. This is a large Barbet, in fact the largest for us in Malaysia. It has a brown face with large yellow patch below the eye patch extending all the way to the throat. The throat itself is grayish. Prominent black bill. A tinge of red in front part of crown followed by a gray patch ending in red at the rear of crown.
Distribution :-  This is a bird of the Borneo island and Sumatra
Habitats & preferences:- For us in Malaysia, this is the most common Barbet in the lowland forest after the Coppersmith Barbet. Also seen in hills.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Very common in lowland forest, plantations and rural villages. Its loud call dominates the landscape.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

This is the nosiest Barbet and also the largest of all local Barbets at 30 cm. big. This is a lowland Barbet that stays in elevation below 200 m.

The bird prefer tall trees and stay at the canopy level. One reason as why the bird is heard so often as it prefers forested edges next to populated areas. More so, if there are low hills around. It's loud calls made it's presence so significant.

But the bird do come down very low - to middle storey of tall trees or low scrubs in the kampong as well. All times in my encounter, the bird is solitary. Noticed that when it did its calling, it was always from tall trees.

Next point, peculiar to this Barbet is that it uses its heavy bills to hammer into soft woods. Especially old rotten trunks  Such action can be interpreted as seeking food, maggots, or even barrowing for nesting and shelter. Most of my pictures of this Barbet were taken when they were in the Kampong. Among the pictures, they show 2 types of trunk, normal tree and that of a palm.

So when you are moving around in low hills, you cannot miss the calls, as this species of Barbet is fairly common


Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 1

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 2

Gold-whiskered Barbet # 3

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 4

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 5

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 6

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 7

Gold-whiskered Barbet # 8

Gold-whiskered Barbet   # 9

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 10

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 11

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 12

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 16

Gold-whiskered Barbet   # 17

Gold-whiskered Barbet  # 18


9. Lineated Barbet  Calorhamphus lineata


Size & diagnostic markings:- 28 Cm. This is also another equally stock looking Barbet. The bird actually has a dark brown head, with crown and throat in uniform color but the whole head made to appear lighter caused by the multiple white streaks. Significant also is the yellow orbital eye skin.
Distribution :-  Again this is a bird from the foothills of the Himalayas, covering a region of north-eastern India and south-western China. Then south to Java Bali. This is a coastal bird common in northern Peninsula, found in parks and garden.
Habitats & preferences:- The Lineated Barbet is a lowland bird but also moves slightly to inland parks with ponds.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far most common in Taiping Lake Garden and Air Itam Dalam. in central peninsula, only in Bukit Melawati in Kuala Selangor.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

This is by comparison with most smaller Barbets, a large one at 27 cm.

Lineated Barbets are easily spotted. First drawn to their where about by their calls, without fail that spot where the bird perched were in the upper storey, choosing bare branches. So unlike Gold-whiskered, this bird likes to be seen calling. Yes! another Barbet that desist the trend of hiding but choose to be spotted.

So far, their presence in the coastal parks is ascertained. I am happy to note that their consistent sighting at the Air Itam Dalam & Taiping Lake Garden were good sign.  Unfortunately for us these parks are only those in northern Peninsula. Beyond the northern states, the only park with this bird is the Bukit Melawati in Kuala Selangor. In all places, though the bird was highly visible when calling, its perch were always some distance up for decent photography. There were times that the bird had chosen canopy of shorter trees or perched quietly in the bare bough in the middle storey. Since it is in the north, my chances of collecting pictures is a bit slow.


Lineated Barbet  # 1

Lineated Barbet   # 2

Lineated Barbet  # 3

Lineated Barbet  # 4

Lineated Barbet   # 5

Lineated Barbet  # 6

Lineated Barbet  # 7

Lineated Barbet   # 8

Lineated Barbet  # 9

Lineated Barbet  # 10

Lineated Barbet   # 11

Lineated Barbet  # 12

Lineated Barbet  # 13

Lineated Barbet   # 14

Lineated Barbet  # 15

Lineated Barbet  # 16

Lineated Barbet   # 17

Lineated Barbet  # 18


10. Red-crowned Barbet  Megalaima rafflesii malayensis


Size & diagnostic markings:- 26 cm. The Red-crowned Barbet. Significant with this bird is the blue face and upper throat, prominent red patch on the fore crown and continued as a band along the entire crown then both sides of the crown - Blue. Then another small patch of red on the side at the upper breast. Just beside  this red patch on the breast there is a larger yellow patch above it and side by side.
Distribution :-  This bird is the resident for the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. It is also available in Peninsula but in small numbers and not often encountered.
Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the thick lowland forest, may sometimes found in low hillside forest.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Had seen the birds only a couple of times but still looking for it to get better pictures
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

This is another mid size Barbet of 27 cm that is seldom seen.

This is a Barbet of the lowland forest. According to Bird's books, it moves around with other Barbets and is a canopy bird. The pictures that I am having is from a batch taken in the Pandan Waterfalls in Kuantan. The birds, a family of 4 were gathering fruits in the middle storey. They were alone and not part of a bird wave. I spent close to 30 minutes watching them and they appeared undisturbed by my presence. Lightings under the dark canopy was not conducive for photography.

Another batch of pictures were among those taken in Bukit Tinggi. Yes, this time, the juvenile came foraging with a group of Barbets from other species. Not consistent was the fact that the forest was over 800 m high.

I wish I will see them more often to build up this write-up.


Red-crowned Barbet  # 1

Red-crowned Barbet  # 2

Red-crowned Barbet # 3

Red-crowned Barbet  # 4

Red-crowned Barbet  # 5

Red-crowned Barbet  # 6

Red-crowned Barbet  # 7

Red-crowned Barbet # 8

Red-crowned Barbet   # 9

Red-crowned Barbet  # 10

juvenile Red-crowned # 11

juvenile Red-crowned    # 12

juvenile Red-crowned   # 13

juvenile Red-crowned  # 14

juvenile Red-crowned    # 15

juvenile Red-crowned   # 16

juvenile Red-crowned  # 17

juvenile Red-crowned    # 18


11. Red-throated Barbet  Megalaima mystacophanos


Size & diagnostic markings:- 23 Cm. The Red-throated Barbet appeared large though it is only 23 cm. Most prominent if the red color throat. The fore crown is yellow while the rest of the crown red. The broad black band across the eye creating a blue cheek. A small yellow patch separate the blue cheek with the red throated area on the breast.
Distribution :-  The Red-throated Barbet same as the Red-crowned Barbet are birds from the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. In Malaysia, this bird was seen more often when compared with the Red-crowned.
Habitats & preferences:- For us in Malaysia, the Red-throated is a bird of the hills though not up to sub-montane climate
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far most sightings were done in Bukit TInggi where this bird is rather common.
Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

My personal jottings :-

The Red-throated Barbet is very often heard but seldom seen.

This is a  forest bird of low hills staying up to elevation of 750 m.

Like all Barbets, this is a canopy bird. Easily heard but not seen. On few occasions I got them in the lower storey, but unlike the Red-crowned Barbet, they took flight immediately. It is not easy to make an ID on the spot in those short moments.

At another time, the bird came in alone consistently for days to a cluster of fruiting trees in Bukit Tinggi. On the contrary, the only Barbet from other species was the Brown Barbet. Both species of Barbet showed no signs of anxiety when feeding with my presence. then there were a couple of occassion that the bird was again seen in the middle storey. These times were not during the fruiting season.

Had monitored this patch of fruiting trees for 4 seasons now and there was no consistency in the bird returning. It could be a fact that these may not be the most preferred fruits as the trees were imported from Japan.


Red-throated Barbet  # 1

Red-throated Barbet  # 2

Red-throated Barbet # 3

Red-throated Barbet  # 4

Red-throated Barbet  # 5

Red-throated Barbet  # 6

Red-throated Barbet  # 7

Red-throated Barbet # 8

Red-throated Barbet   # 9

Red-throated Barbet  # 10

Red-throated Barbet # 11

Red-throated Barbet   # 12

Red-throated Barbet  # 16

Red-throated Barbet # 17

Red-throated Barbet   # 18



That's the pictures. The Barbets that I caught on "films". Very happy and urges me on to get more with each new season.

Yes, the calls of the Barbets of the Barbet at the time when the forest is so quiet is most reassuring and welcoming. Cannot deny that fact. But sighting one despite of the incessant loud call and so close in impossible and a common drawback. The birds are perched on firm branches with no movements of leaves. The green color plumage reduces the chance of picking up a speck of odd colors in a sea of green. Hence even with the largest Gold -whiskered Barbet, I had great difficulties to make out their position. In any circumstances, there are exception. The Coppersmith Barbet on the contrary, is one bird that is most easy to locate.

Good way of spotting Barbets is learning and getting information on fruiting trees. Barbets have very fixed habits and pattern. When it comes to feeding, the birds would not mind descending to small trees. Without fear of human presence, they continued their feeding. That's not all, the birds would comes in a flock of few birds and many a times a few species of Barbet were present showing their common preferences for the fruits.

At last after a 3 years space in between I have updated this page but there is till so much to be done. This is one of the many KIV pages I have got, it will be updated from time or rather taken to a higher level of completion>