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Capitonidae

New World Barbet
Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi ©Sam Woods Website

The Capitonidae or American barbets are a family of near passerine birds of the order Piciformes, which inhabit humid forests in Central and South America. They are closely related to the toucans. They are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured and live in tropical forest. They are mostly arboreal birds which nest in tree holes dug by breeding pairs, laying 2 to 4 eggs. They eat fruit and insects. These birds do not migrate.

While most American barbet species inhabit lowland forest, some range into montane and temperate forests as well. Most are restricted to habitats containing trees with dead wood, which are used for nesting.

Their diet is mixed, with fruit being the dominant part of the diet. Small prey items are also taken, especially when nesting. Barbets are capable of shifting their diet quickly in the face of changes in food availability: Numerous species of fruiting tree and bush are visited; an individual barbet may feed on as many as 60 different species in its range. They will also visit plantations and take cultivated fruit and vegetables. Fruit is eaten whole and indigestible material such as seed pits regurgitated later (often before singing). Regurgitation does not usually happen in the nest (as happens with toucans). Like their relatives, American barbets are thought to be important agents in seed dispersal in tropical forests. As well as taking fruit, they also take arthropod prey, gleaned from the branches and trunks of trees. A wide range of insects are taken, including ants, beetles and moths. Scorpions and centipedes are also taken, and a few species will take small vertebrates such as frogs.

According to the IOC there are 15 species, which are:

Scarlet-crowned Barbet Capito aurovirens
Scarlet-banded Barbet Capito wallacei
Sira Barbet Capito fitzpatricki
Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus
Orange-fronted Barbet Capito squamatus
White-mantled Barbet Capito hypoleucus
Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi
Brown-chested Barbet Capito brunneipectus
Black-spotted Barbet Capito niger
Gilded Barbet Capito auratus
Five-colored Barbet Capito quinticolor

Lemon-throated Barbet Eubucco richardsoni
Red-headed Barbet Eubucco bourcierii
Scarlet-hooded Barbet Eubucco tucinkae
Versicolored Barbet Eubucco versicolor

Family Links

New World Barbets Capitonidae

Family Account

American barbets, family Capitonidae, are near passerine birds of the order Piciformes which inhabit humid forests in Central and South America. They are closely related to the toucans.

New World Barbets Capitonidae

Family Account

The New World barbets are among the most gorgeous birds of South American forests. Yet some are so local and restricted to isolated habitats that they were first discovered to science in my lifetime.

New World Barbets Capitonidae

HBW Family Account

Annotated species list.

Species Links

Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi

Cornell Species Account

Black-girdled Barbet is a striking, but poorly-known, barbet of south central Amazonia. Both sexes have the black "girdle" - the black band across the belly - but only the male has the striking red crown; the crown of the female is black.

Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi

BirdLife Species Account

Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Capito dayi Cherrie, 1916, Porto Velho, River Madeira, Brazil. Genetic data indicate that this species may be closest to C. quinticolor, rather than, as previously thought, C. niger. Monotypic.

Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi

Species Account

The black-girdled barbet (Capito dayi) is a species of bird in the Capitonidae family. It is found in Bolivia and Brazil. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus

Cornell Species Account

The Spot-crowned Barbet is found from western Panama to northwest Colombia, with separate subspecies recognized west and east of the Panama Canal Zone. Like all Neotropical barbets, this is a striking-looking bird.

Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Capito maculicoronatus Lawrence, 1861, Atlantic side of Isthmus of Panama. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus

BirdLife Species Account

Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus

Species Account

The spot-crowned barbet (Capito maculicoronatus) is a species of bird in the Capitonidae family. It is found in Colombia and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.

Spot-crowned Barbet Capito maculicoronatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.