Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Barbet (Gymnobucco cinereiceps)


French: Barbican à tête grise German: Graukopf-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo cabecigrís

Gymnobucco cinereiceps


, 1891,

Mt Elgon, East Africa


Hitherto considered conspecific with G. bonapartei owing to zone of intergradation in C DRCongo (where populations formerly separated as race intermedius), but this not an obstacle here to its separation, based on larger size (effect size for wing 3.32) (2); proportionately rather longer nasal tufts (but these not measured; ns[1]); pale iris (3); whiter, narrower streaks on forecrown (1); blacker tail (1); broad hybrid zone (1). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

S South Sudan and E DRCongo, S to Burundi, W Kenya and NW Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

16·5–19 cm; 49–81 g. Compared to formerly conspecific G. bonapartei (see Taxonomy comments), present species is larger (e.g. wing of male 87–100 mm, versus 76–85 mm... read more


No known differences between this species and G. bonapartei.


Primary, secondary and riverine forest, forest patches, overgrown plantations, pastures near forest... read more

Food and feeding

No known differences from G. bonapartei.


Lays Nov to as late as Jul in Sudan and Uganda, and Oct–Mar in W Kenya. Social, in small to large colonies, sometimes with other ... read more


Resident; dependent largely on fruiting trees, moves some distance to them.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread, somewhat adaptable, and relatively abundant. Threats involve removal of dead trees, and isolation of fruiting trees from forest as... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Grey-headed Barbet (Gymnobucco cinereiceps). 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 17 February 2019).