Blackcollared barbet

Lybius torquatus

TAXONOMY

Lybius torquatus Dumont, 1816. Seven subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Barbican a collier; German: Halsband-Bartvogel; Spanish: Barbudo de Collar Negro.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

7.8 in (20 cm); 1.6-2.8 oz (45-80 g). Forecrown to upper breast is red. A broad black band separates the red breast from the pale yellow belly. Hindcrown to upper back is black; lower back and rump are brown with fine, dark and yellowish lines. Wing feathers are dark brown edged with pale yellow.

DISTRIBUTION

Central and southern Africa from the east coast of Kenya west to Angola, south through Zimbabwe and Mozambique to eastern South Africa.

HABITAT

Open woodland, including vicinity of villages and camps, open wooded grassland, gardens, and farmland.

BEHAVIOR

Perches in pairs or groups of up to six adults on conspicuous treetop branches. Interacts with other, larger barbet species, calling frequently unless chased away. Group lives together, feeding and roosting in close association.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Eats fruit such as figs, guava, grapes, and many brightly colored berries; also eats many insects including termites and beetles. Catches flies in flight, sometimes drops to ground to pick up fruit.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding requires dead trees or branches; territory of 50-125 acres (20-50 ha). Group maintains territory with frequent synchronized duets, with two calling birds using different notes, given in rapid succession, sounding like "pududut," "tay-pudit-tay-pudit" and many other variations, male calling at a lower pitch than female. Duetting increases near nesting time; primary male of group gives aerial display and pair has intricate greeting ceremonies with cocked tails, swinging bodies, bowing, and short leaps. Paired birds touch bills and male feeds mate. Nest excavated in dead stump; 1-5 eggs (typically 3-4) incubated for 18-19 days; chicks fledge at 33-35 days. Up to four broods per year. Breeding pair excavate the nest, but all members of group help with incubation and feeding young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened; generally quite common and secure.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Familiar, noisy bird around human habitation. ♦

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