Trachyphonus vaillantii - The Crested Barbet

Common throughout South Africa, the Crested Barbet is a small bird with a speckled yellow and red face with a small black crest. The belly is yellow with red speckles, wings are black with white specks and it has a broad black band on its neck.

It's yellow head and body with black and white feathers, red markings on end of body, means its colour blends well in the bush, perfect camouflage.

Did you know? The Crested Barbet is a most welcomed garden bird as it is capable of eliminating the local snail population.

They have a distinct shrill. They hop around on the ground looking for food. They do not fly easily and then only for short distances. Crested Barbets roost in holes in trees. Extremely vocal birds, their call is a trill that can continue for long periods.


Length: 23 to 24 cm.
Weight: 60 - 80 gms.


Forests, savannah, suburban gardens, woodland thickets and watercourses.


The Crested Barbet is common in South Africa, especially from the Free State to the Limpopo Province.

It can be seen in its natural habitat in the Karoo National Park (between Johannesburg and Cape Town), Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy (near Johannesburg and Pretoria), and the Sandveld Nature Reserve, which is about 200km from Bloemfontein.


Crested Barbets feed on insects, snails and fruits and sometimes it will eat the eggs and chicks of other birds.


Crested Barbets are usually found singly or in pairs. Crested Barbets are aggressive towards other birds in their territory and chase off both nest competitors such as other Barbets and other birds such as doves and thrushes.


Crested Barbets nest in a hole in a tree which is excavated by both the male and female birds. They are monogamous and territorial during breeding. 1 - 5 Eggs are laid at daily intervals, usually from the months of September to December.

Incubation lasts between 13 to 17 days and is done by both sexes - the female incubates the eggs at night and the male for long periods during the day. The young hatch naked and blind. They are fed insects by both parents and are ready to leave the nest after a month.


The incubation of the eggs lasts for 13 to 17 days.

Life Expectancy

Information required.


Snakes, some birds of prey.


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Crested Barbet
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