Family Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)

Least Concern

Blue-eared Barbet (Psilopogon cyanotis)


French: Barbu à oreillons bleus German: Blauohr-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo orejiazul
Other common names: Large-billed Barbet (“robustirostris”)

Bucco cyanotis


, 1847,

Arakan, Myanmar


Hitherto treated as conspecific with P. duvaucelii and P. australis, and closely related to P. eximius, these together comprising the so-called Mesobucco group. Differs from duvaucelii on account of blue vs black ear-coverts (3); more extensive and darker green-blue throat (same shade as in australis), with little or no blackish lower throatband (2); red-and-yellowish-white (at any except close distance pink) vs red cheek patch (1); slightly larger size with distinctly longer tail (effect size of cyanotis 3.48, of stuarti 1.02) (1); narrow zone of hybridization (2). Differs from australis on account of black vs blue forehead (2); red rear supercilium, cheek patch and lower submoustachial area vs green, yellow and green, respectively (3); more extensive green-blue throat with no yellow or blackish lower throatband, but with some black irregularly inside it (2); blue vs green ear-coverts (ns[2]). HBW indicated that birds from S Myanmar and SW & peninsular Thailand are often treated as race stuarti but are apparently intermediates between cyanotis and duvaucelii; here, however, stuarti accepted as valid subspecies, having deeper red postauricular and postmalar spots and being somewhat smaller than nominate cyanotis (with tail shorter), intergrading with P. duvaucelii in S peninsular Thailand (NHMUK material) and NW Malaysia#R. Some authors suggest that race orientalis possibly better lumped within nominate cyanotis. Other described form invisa from NW Thailand synonymized with cyanotis. Form described from Assam as robustirostris for long considered a separate species, but apparently matched by specimen from Laos, and these probably represent immatures of present species. Three subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. cyanotis (Blyth, 1847) – SE Nepal E to E Bangladesh and NE India, S China (Yunnan), Myanmar and NW Thailand S to N peninsular Thailand.
  • P. c. stuarti (Robinson & Kloss, 1919) – peninsular Thailand.
  • P. c. orientalis (Robinson, 1915) – E Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 31·6–39·5 g. Small, green, stout-billed barbet with blue crown and throat, and very narrow black band between throat and breast. Previously considered to be... read more


    Vocal variation in the P. australis species complex remains unstudied, although the main,... read more


    Primary forest and edges in lowlands and foothills; mainly evergreen forest, but may move into... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, including figs and others, also reportedly insects. Foraging behaviour not reported. Gathers in numbers of up to c. 100 at fruiting... read more


    Season Jan–Aug in much of range; from Jan in Vietnam, Mar–Sept in Thailand. Sings incessantly, pair-members simultaneously; head-bobbing,... read more


    Resident; generally territorial and sedentary, but some post-breeding movements occur to fruiting... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Often one of the commonest of barbets, except in C Thailand and parts of Myanmar; common in SE Asia; scarce and very local in Nepal,... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Blue-eared Barbet (Psilopogon cyanotis). 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 21 February 2020).