Family Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)

Least Concern

Great Barbet (Psilopogon virens)


French: Barbu géant German: Heulbartvogel Spanish: Barbudo grande

Bucco virens


, 1783,



Related to P. lagrandieri, but not very closely. Races weakly to moderately marked. Indochinese birds, described as race indochinensis, now considered indistinguishable from nominate; birds of Mishmi Hills (NE Assam) formerly recognized as race mayri, but inseparable from clamator. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. v. marshallorum (Swinhoe, 1870) – NE Pakistan and NW India E to W Nepal.
  • P. v. magnificus (E. C. S. Baker, 1926) – E Nepal E to C Assam.
  • P. v. clamator (Mayr, 1941) – NE Assam, N Myanmar and SC China (W Yunnan) to NW Thailand.
  • P. v. virens (Boddaert, 1783) – C Myanmar and NC Thailand to N Vietnam and SC & SE China.
  • Descriptive notes

    32–35 cm; 164–295 g. Largest barbet, with big bill. Both sexes of nominate race with entirely dark bluish head with some green tones, brown and green body... read more


    Loud, distinctive “kee-aar” to “peeao” notes in long series, with... read more


    Forest, both deciduous and evergreen, and wooded valleys on mountain slopes; visits orchards and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diverse fruits, especially figs, berries, wild plums, ivy berries, barberries, “medlar” and “pepul” fruits; also... read more


    Feb–Aug or Sept; sometimes two or even three broods in a season. Much singing and countersinging, simultaneous singing of pair;... read more


    Resident, with altitudinal movements; those at elevations above c. 800 m migrate down to lower... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in N Indian Subcontinent, although very local in Pakistan; possibly still present in Bangladesh, but no recent records; common in SE Asia.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2020). Great Barbet (Psilopogon virens). 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 24 February 2020).