Books del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal, eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 7, Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 2002.

Sclater, P. L. A Monograph of the Jacamars and Puffbirds, London: R. H. Porter, 1882.

Joseph Andrew Tobias, PhD

Class Aves Order Piciformes Family Capitonidae

Thumbnail description

Small to medium-sized, colorful, thick-billed, large-headed and short-tailed birds; noticeable bristles around bill; tongue sometimes forked or brush-tipped; foot zygodactyl, two toes pointing backwards


Number of genera, species

13 genera, 92 species


Mostly tropical forest and forest edge, with some species (including most African ones) thriving in secondary forest, parkland, and even suburbs with many ornamental trees; a few live in drier, thornbush habitats with large termite mounds.

Conservation status

Endangered: 1 species; Near Threatened: 9 species.

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