Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Black-billed Barbet (Lybius guifsobalito)


French: Barbican guifsobalito German: Purpurmasken-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo guifsobalito

Lybius guifsobalito


, 1783,



Closely related to L. torquatus (similar size, coloration, displays, sexual duet roles), and each reacts strongly to playback of the other’s voice. Related also, less closely, to L. rubrifacies. Clinal decrease in size from N to S, but insufficient for racial differentiation; populations S from White Nile formerly separated as race ugandae. Monotypic.


E Sudan, Eritrea and W & C Ethiopia S to extreme NE DRCongo, C Uganda, W Kenya and CN Tanzania; range expanding in W Kenya. Recently reported from N Cameroon, so may occur in Central African Republic.

Descriptive notes

16–18 cm; 35–57 g. Chunky, short-tailed, mostly black barbet. Both sexes with red forehead, face and throat to upper breast, mainly black body; some yellow to... read more


Complex greeting ceremonies with chattering, grating, “kek” notes, often leading to... read more


Open woodland, such as Acacia and Combretum-Terminalia, bushed woods, edges of... read more

Food and feeding

Berries and fruits, including figs, guavas, papayas, peppers and others, as well as ants, termites, beetles, Hemiptera and other insects.... read more


Oct–Dec, but Mar–May in Ethiopia. Groups of up to 7 perform greeting ceremonies, with bowing, tail-swinging, erection of head... read more


Resident and sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common in SE of range; probably locally common elsewhere. Seems to be reasonably adaptable; occurs in some degraded habitats, and is... read more

Recommended citation

Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2017). Black-billed Barbet (Lybius guifsobalito). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2017).