Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Brown-and-white Barbet (Lybius senex)


French: Barbican blanc German: Zweifarb-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo canoso

Pogonorhynchus senex


, 1887,

Ukamba, Kenya


Hitherto considered conspecific with L. leucocephalus, but differs in its entirely white underparts (3), unspotted dark greyish-brown upperparts (3), chattering song (at least 1 and probably 3); also, distribution parapatric with that of L. l. albicauda (3). For differences from L. leucogaster, see under that species. Monotypic.


C & SC Kenya.

Descriptive notes

18–19·5 cm; 45–75 g. Distinctive large-bodied, white-headed barbet with much white elsewhere in plumage. Both sexes white, apart from blackish back and wings; black bill with... read more


Song (and “greeting ceremony” by two or more individuals) is a chattering, wheezy and noisy “chee-... read more


Open bushed and wooded habitats, mainly in highlands and peripheral plateaux, up to 2000 m.

Food and feeding

No known differences from L. leucocephalus; fruits consumed include Ficus hochstetteri.


Breeds Feb and Apr–Nov (before and after rainy seasons). Nests in groups, but also pairs. Elaborate greeting calls, songs, tapping at nest... read more


Resident; usually sedentary, but wandering occurs; vagrant to near sea-level in Kenya.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common within overall range of 84,800 km² (mainly E of Rift Valley, at Meru, Embu, Nairobi, Thika, Kitui and Chyulu Hills). No population... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Brown-and-white Barbet (Lybius senex). 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).