Family New World Barbets (Capitonidae)

Least Concern

Gilded Barbet (Capito auratus)


French: Cabézon doré German: Orange-Tupfenbartvogel Spanish: Cabezón dorado

Bucco auratus

Dumont de Sainte Croix

, 1816,

Sarayacu, Río Ucayali, Peru


Until recently, treated as conspecific with C. niger (which see); recent genetic study indicates that these two and C. brunneipectus are all distinct species and are each other’s closest relatives#R. Present species long considered to include C. brunneipectus as race, but latter differs markedly in morphology from all races of present species, and has distinctive song. In context of internal taxonomy of present species, the same genetic study#R suggests that Ucayali–Solimões–Amazon act as a river barrier, with populations to N & W showing notable genetic differences from those to S & E, but no corresponding morphological differences have been detected to date; some subspecies as currently recognized appear to be polyphyletic; further study required. Many races intergrade. Other races described from NW Brazil are transilens (upper R Negro), considered synonymous with nitidior, and novaolindae (Nova Olinda) and arimae (R Purus), both treated as synonymous with amazonicus, possibly fitting into a cline from orange-throated insperatus in S towards red-throated amazonicus in N; birds described as race intermedius (WC Venezuela) inseparable from aurantiicinctus; forms macintyrei (from SW Colombia and Ecuador) and conjunctus (from Peru) fall within range of variation of punctatus. Form bolivianus known only from type specimen of unknown locality, possibly from R Beni (N Bolivia); now thought most likely to be aberrant individual of insperatus. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. aurantiicinctus Dalmas, 1900 – Venezuela in upper Orinoco region, W Bolívar and Amazonas.
  • C. a. punctatus (Lesson, 1830) – SC Colombia (from Meta) along lower E Andes to C Peru (Junín area).
  • C. a. nitidior Chapman, 1928 – extreme E Colombia and SW Venezuela S to near Peru–Brazil border (N of Amazon) and to lower R Japurá.
  • C. a. hypochondriacus Chapman, 1928 – N Brazil from Roraima (Maraca) S along R Branco to angle between lower R Negro and R Solimões.
  • C. a. auratus (Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1816) – NE Peru from mouth of R Napo S along R Amazon and R Ucayali.
  • C. a. amazonicus Deville & Des Murs, 1849 – W Brazil S of R Solimões from upper R Juruá and Tefé E to R Purus.
  • C. a. orosae Chapman, 1928 – E Peru from R Orosa E to R Javari, S to extreme W Brazil (Cruzeiro do Sol region of Acre).
  • C. a. insperatus Cherrie, 1916 – SE Peru, NW & C Bolivia and W Brazil (R Purus to R Madeira).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–19 cm; 47·5–77 g. Male nominate race has brownish-gold crown, black head-sides and upperparts, yellow rear supercilium (continuing as scapular stripe and forming broad V... read more


    Song (given by both sexes) comprises double, sometimes single, low and frog-like “hoot” notes,... read more


    Lowland and low hill floodplain-forest, terra firme forest (with Calycophyllum... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diverse fruits, such as figs, those of Cecropia, Ocotea, Pagama plicata, Guarea guara, mangoes, form up... read more


    Sept–May or later, to Jul, in N of range; Mar–Nov in Colombia and Ecuador; Jun or Jul to as late as Feb in Peru to Bolivia. Nests have been... read more


    Resident and sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Commonest Neotropical barbet. In Peru, 10·5 pairs/100 ha in mature forest, 15 pairs/100 ha in transition forest, and up to 20 pairs/100 ha in... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Gilded Barbet (Capito auratus). 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 19 December 2018).