Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Brown-breasted Barbet (Pogonornis melanopterus)


French: Barbican à poitrine brune German: Braunbrust-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo pechipardo

Pogonias (Laimodon) melanopterus

W. K. H. Peters

, 1854,

Mocimboa, Mozambique


Related to P. minor (with P. macclounii); also to the P. bidentatus group, which includes that species along with P. dubius and P. rolleti. Paler brown Somalian birds sometimes separated as race didymus, but in fresh plumage they are dark, as are those from farther S, so separation not justified. Monotypic.


S Somalia S, mainly in coastal region, to SC Mozambique, ranging inland along rivers, more so in S, reaching to EC Kenya, CS Tanzania and N & SE Malawi; inland populations often disjunct.

Descriptive notes

c. 19 cm; 45–61 g. Long-tailed barbet with pale bill. Male with head red, giving way to brown on breast and back, lower back mostly white; thighs blackish, conspicuous... read more


No song, equivalent perhaps is “nyekk” or “rrakk”, singly, or up to 10 at 1... read more


Inhabits forest patches and partly cut-over areas, as well as forest edges, cultivated trees,... read more

Food and feeding

Relatively little known. Feeds on insects (including hymenopterans), and also on figs, cultivated fruits and diverse other fruits and... read more


Nov–Jun, also Aug; has 2 broods in places, in captivity breeds up to 3 times a year. Usually breeds in social groups of up to 7,... read more


Resident; largely sedentary, but may wander some distance along rivers.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. No data available on numbers; groups in mixed cultivation and woodland along roads at intervals of c. 300–500 m. Breeds in Liwonde National... read more

Recommended citation

Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2017). Brown-breasted Barbet (Pogonornis melanopterus). 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).