Great Barbet Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a great barbet?
The great barbets (Psilopogon virens) are Asian barbets, a kind of bird, that are classified into four subspecies.
What class of animal does a great barbet belong to?
The great barbet bird is a part of the class Aves, just like the chipping sparrow. These birds are a member of the Megalaimidae family and genus Psilopogon.
How many great barbets are there in the world?
The exact population of the great barbet bird has not been estimated throughout their range. However, they are observed to be quite common in India and Pakistan. In China, their population range is between 100-10,000 breeding pairs. That being said, their numbers are declining in the wild due to habitat loss and hunting.
Where does a great barbet live?
The distribution range of Psilopogon virens includes large sections of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, where the bird is endemic. The four subspecies of great barbet have slightly varying distribution. Psilopogon virens marshallorum inhabits northeastern Pakistan, north-west India, and the entire region from east to west in Nepal. Psilopogon virens magnificus is found in eastern Nepal and east to central Assam. Psilopogon virens clamator distribution range includes parts of Assam, Myanmar, China, and Thailand. Lastly, Psilopogon virens virens species is found in central Myanmar, and parts of Thailand, Vietnam, and China. These birds are resident in nature and only participate in altitudinal migration.
What is a great barbet's habitat?
This bird species is mostly found in forest habitats which include both deciduous and evergreen forests. They are also observed in valleys of mountain slopes, and in man-made ecosystems like orchards and gardens.
Who does a great barbet live with?
During the breeding season, great barbets are seen in pairs. Apart from that, while foraging, flocks of up to 40 members have been noted.
How long does a great barbet live?
The exact lifespan of the great barbet bird is not known. In general, birds of the barbet species are thought to have a long life.
How do they reproduce?
The breeding and nesting season lasts from February to August or September, and during that time both the male and female birds engage in courtship displays. Nesting is done in a hollow tree or branch cavity. The female bird lays two to five eggs, which are incubated by both the parents for 13-15 days. Once the offsprings hatch out, both parents are responsible for taking care of the young.
What is their conservation status?
The conservation status of the great barbet (Psilopogon virens) has been marked as Least Concern by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature or IUCN. Nevertheless, these birds are threatened by habitat degradation and hunting.
Great Barbet Fun Facts
What does a great barbet look like?
The great barbet (Psilopogon virens) is a bird with distinctive features. It is observed to have a bluish-black head, throat, nape, and sides of the neck. A significant part of its plumage appears to be brown. For instance, the feathers on the upper back are deep brown to chestnut in color and have yellow streaks. The mid-back and breast regions are also brown. In contrast to the brown, the lower back and lower breast plumage appear green and pale blue, respectively. The belly region appears pale, while the tail feathers are green with brown tips, and the undertail is red. The bill in this barbet species is noteworthy. It appears quite big and is yellow in color. Towards the tip of the bill, a silvery tinge is present. Both sexes look alike.
How cute are they?
Great barbets are certainly very cute birds. Their beautiful plumage and prominent bill further heighten their charm.
How do they communicate?
These birds carry out their communication mainly through various calls and vocalizations. The territorial call emitted by the male birds sounds like a loud 'kay-oh'. The vocalizations made by the female birds are much shorter and faster when compared to the males. Both sexes also produce loud and distinct 'kee-aar' and 'peeao' notes. Great barbets are also known to rustle their wings noisily, especially when they are displaying.
How big is a great barbet?
The size of the great barbet (Psilopogon virens) is the largest among all barbet species and they have a length between 12.5-13.7 in (31.7-34.7 cm). When comparing to the ivory-billed woodpecker belonging to the same order as the great barbet, it is observed that the ivory billed-woodpecker is larger in size, as it measured between 18-20 in (45.7-50.8 cm).
How fast can a great barbet fly?
Though the exact flight speed of the great barbet birds has not been recorded, in general, Psilopogon virens birds have a strong flight, following a dipping pattern.
How much does a great barbet weigh?
The great barbets weigh between 5.7-10.4 oz (161.5–294.8 g). If compared to the red-cockaded woodpecker, of the same family Piciformes, which weighs between 1.5-1.8 oz (42.5-51 g), the great barbet is significantly heavier.
What are the male and female names of the species?
The male and female birds of this species are known as male great barbet and female great barbet, respectively.
What would you call a baby great barbet?
A baby great barbet is known as a hatchling, nestling, fledgling, or chick.
What do they eat?
These birds have an omnivorous diet. Generally, they feed on different kinds of fruits like figs, barberries, and wild plums. Other vegetative products in their diet are pear blossoms, petals and nectar of silk cotton tree, and petals of rhododendrons. They also forage for insects like beetles, hornets, mantids, ants, termites, and so on.
Are they dangerous?
There are no instances to suggest that the Psilopogon virens are a dangerous bird species.
Would they make a good pet?
In general, barbets can make good pets as long as their needs and requirements are met. However, just like any other bird, the great barbet would do best in the wild.
Did you know...
Barbet birds are named so, due to the bristles present at the base of their prominent bills.
Initially, the scientific name of the great barbet (Psilopgon virens) was proposed to be Bucco virens, by Pieter Boddaert. Later it was placed in the genus Megalaima, before being put in the Psilopogon genus.
How many types of barbet are there?
Apart from the great barbet (Psilopogon virens), 31 other species of Asian barbets are found in the wild.
The coppersmith barbet bird, which is native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, is known for its metronomic call. This bird has a combination of green, yellow, and red feathers, and is quite small in size.
Next, the blue-throated is another species of Asian barbets, with a red, blue, and green plumage. They feed on fruits and insects, just like the great barbet birds.
The lineated barbet, found in the Brahmaputra basin in Southeast Asia, has green and streaky plumage and is known to give out a 'poo-tok' call.
The New World barbets belong to the family Capitonidae, and the extant species are classified into two genera, namely, Capito and Eubucco. Some examples of New World barbets are spot-crowned barbet, orange-fronted barbet, and red-headed barbet.
What is the other name of the barbet bird?
The great barbet (Psilopogon virens) is also known as hill barbet and Himalayan barbet. Other barbet species, like the coppersmith barbet and golden-whiskered barbet, are also known as Crimson-breasted barbet (in English) and golden-whiskered false woodpecker (in Mandarin Chinese), respectively.
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Second image by Koshy Koshy.