Friday, 17 October 2014

Acacia pied barbet

Tricholaema leucomelas

(Photo from Bird Forum)

Common name:
acacia pied barbet (en); barbaças-das-acácias (pt); barbican pie (fr); barbudo pío (es); rotstirn-bartvogel (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Capitonidae

This species is found in southern Africa, from southern Angola, Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique, through Namibia and Botswana and throughout South Africa.

These birds are 15-18 cm long and weigh 23-45 g.

The acacia pied barbet is mostly found in dry savannas, particularly those dominated by Acacia and Baikiaea, also using dry scrublands, plantations, pastures, arable land, rural gardens and urban areas. These birds are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.500 m.

They feed mainly on fruits, especially figs and mistletoes, but also nectar and flowers, and insects.

These birds breed in September-June. They are monogamous and territorial and both sexes excavate the nest hole into the underside of a branch. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 35 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and appear to be common throughout most of this range. The population is believed to be increasing as it takes advantage of the increasing amount of alien trees, which it uses as nesting sites, allowing the acacia pied barbet to expand its range south-westwards.

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