Family Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)

Least Concern

Malabar Barbet (Psilopogon malabaricus)


French: Barbu de Malabar German: Malabar-Schmiedbartvogel Spanish: Barbudo malabar

Bucco malabaricus


, 1847,

Malabar Coast


Until recently was treated as conspecific with P. rubricapillus, but differs in its red vs yellow cheek patch, eyebrow and throat (3); red-based submoustachial line (2); slightly yellower tone to underparts (1); vague irregular black maculations on breast and flanks (ns[1]); and different voice (here judged 3)#R. Closely related to the partly sympatric P. haemacephalus (vocally similar), the two, with P. rubricapillus, forming the so-called Xantholaema group. Monotypic.

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

SW India (Goa S to S Kerala and W Tamil Nadu).

Descriptive notes

16–17 cm; 38–42·5 g. Small, chunky, green barbet with reddish legs and feet. Male P. malabaricus is larger compared to formerly conspecific P. rubricapillus... read more


Extremely similar to P. haemacephalus, but faster, slightly mellower and less incisive.... read more


Inhabits evergreen forest, forest edges, plantations of fruiting trees, and remnant forest patches... read more

Food and feeding

Diet and foraging methods presumably largely similar to those of P. rubricapillus. In one study in S India, present species... read more


Season Dec–May, with c. 50% of pairs double-brooded, laying again 4–6 days after first brood has fledged. Much courtship feeding. Nest... read more


Resident; mainly sedentary, some feeding outside territory, young disperse away from territory.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common but local, though appears reasonably adaptable: in Kerala has adapted to man-altered habitats, and is able to thrive well in plantations and... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Malabar Barbet (Psilopogon malabaricus). 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 18 February 2020).