Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii)


French: Barbican promépic German: Haubenbartvogel Spanish: Barbudo crestado

Trachyphonus Vaillantii


, 1821,

south-east Cape Province, South Africa


Racial differentiation difficult to evaluate owing to mosaic evolution (correlated with rainfall, plumage paler in more xeric areas) and individual variation; proposed race nobilis, known from single specimen from Botswana, now included within nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. suahelicus Reichenow, 1887 – C Angola, S & E DRCongo and SW Uganda to N Tanzania, S to Zambia, N Zimbabwe, Malawi and C Mozambique.
  • T. v. vaillantii Ranzani, 1821 – S Angola, NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip), N & E Botswana, S Zimbabwe, and from S Mozambique S to E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–23 cm; 57–85 g. Distinct crest and unique white, yellow, red and black colour pattern. Nominate race has black and white area around ear opening, yellow and... read more


    Distinctive trilling “di-di-di-” song with 10–17 notes per second for up to 5... read more


    Woodland and thickets, especially where there are termite mounds, also plantations, including pines... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and seeds, including those of guavas, figs and berries; also insects, such as grasshoppers and locusts, various beetles, wasps,... read more


    Sept–Mar in all areas; earlier, to Aug, in South Africa; up to 4 broods in a season in S. Courtship feeding and bill-touching with... read more


    Typically sedentary; may sometimes move some distance, and disperse along watercourses in arid... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common; density can reach c. 5 pairs/100 ha in some woodland areas. Adaptable, aggressive barbet where not persecuted; some individuals are... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2020). Crested Barbet (Trachyphonus vaillantii). 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 25 January 2020).