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Blackcollared Barbet

Bird of the month is the Blackcollared Barbet (Lybius torquatus).

Blackcollared Barbet (Lybius torquatus)

Colouring: Iris deep red or red-brown; bill black; legs and feet greenish grey to brown; throat and breast bright red (rarely yellow); hindcrown, mantle and broad band across lower breast black; belly dull pale yellowish grey; back greyish olive; wings and tail edged with yellow.

Voice: Duet starting off with buzzing skiz-skiz-skiz, becoming loud ringing antiphonal whoop-dudu, whoop-dudu; also two-puddly, two-puddly, or clean-collar, clean-collar; phrase repeated up to about eight times in quick succession; snarling snaar threat note.

Habitat: Coastal bush, woodland, forest edge, riverine forest, parks, gardens.

Distribution: Africa south of the equator, eastern and north-eastern parts of South Africa, Orange Free State and Namibia.

Habits: Solitary, in pairs or small groups. Highly vocal, especially in summer; birds bob up and down, opening and closing wings as they call. Flight fast, direct, with whirring wings.

Food: Fruit (especially figs), insects.

Breeding season: August to April (mainly September-November); may rear four broods per season. Nest: Hole excavated in upright or sloping trunks or branches; up to 25 cm from entrance to floor.

Incubation and fledging: 2-5 white eggs. Incubation 18 days. Nesting 33-35 days; fed by both parents and other adult helpers; two pairs may share a nest hole.

References: Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts’ Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.

Kenneth Newman: Newman’s Birds by Colour. 2000.

Photographs are courtesy of Gavin Orbel, Eris Stockenstroom and Mercia Komen of the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy/Oori; this series is a joint venture with Hartebeestfontein Conservancy (text).