Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Hairy-breasted Barbet (Tricholaema hirsuta)


French: Barbican hérissé German: Fleckenbartvogel Spanish: Barbudo hirsuto

Pogonias hirsutus


, 1821,



No close relatives. Exact delimitation of races difficult owing to intergradation; nominate and flavipunctata hybridize over an extensive zone, roughly from Ghana to S Nigeria; proposed races hybrida (Niger Delta) and chapini (SE Cameroon E to C DRCongo) considered indistinguishable from, respectively, nominate and ansorgii. Nominate hirsuta has been separated as full species from other three taxa#R, but form ansorgii shares characters with both hirsuta and flavipunctata and could be assigned to either; alternatively, three or, indeed, four species may be involved; more study needed. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. h. hirsuta (Swainson, 1821) – Hairy-breasted Barbet – S Senegal and Sierra Leone E to SC Nigeria (Niger Delta).
  • T. h. flavipunctata J. P. Verreaux & J. B. É. Verreaux, 1855 – Spot-headed Barbet – from at least SE Nigeria through Cameroon (except SE) to C Gabon.
  • T. h. ansorgii Shelley, 1895 – Streaky-throated Barbet – SE Cameroon E to W Kenya, S to E Congo, C DRCongo and NW Tanzania.
  • T. h. angolensis Neumann, 1908 – Brown-streaked Barbet – S Gabon and S Congo S to N Angola and S DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm; 43–63 g. Yellow, blackish and white forest barbet. Male nominate race black above with yellow spots, yellow edges to wing feathers; white super­... read more


    Song a series of “oop” or “oork” notes at c. 1 per second for up to 20... read more


    The most forest-adapted Tricholaema. Inhabits lowland primary and adjacent dense secondary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and arthropods: eats berries, and drupes of such plants as Ficus, Morinda, Musanga, Pachypodanthium... read more


    Aug–Feb, possibly from Jun, in W Africa; Apr–May in Cameroon, Feb–Mar in Gabon and Congo, most months in Zaire; Feb... read more


    Resident and sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Population in Liberia estimated at 250,000 pairs; not uncommon but very local in Sierra Leone; rare in Kenya. Appears to be rather strictly tied to... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2018). Hairy-breasted Barbet (Tricholaema hirsuta). 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 22 October 2018).