Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Moustached Green Tinkerbird (Pogoniulus leucomystax)


French: Barbion à moustaches German: Bergbartvogel Spanish: Barbudito bigotudo
Other common names: Moustached Tinkerbird

Barbatula leucomystax


, 1892,

Sotik, west Kenya


Closely related to P. simplex and P. coryphaea, all three having in the past been separated in genus Viridibucco. Populations of present species exhibit slight clinal increase in size towards S, but few constant geographical colour differences to warrant subspecific differentiation; meridionalis often regarded as no more than S part of cline. Birds from Chyulu Hills (Kenya) formerly separated as race chyulu. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. leucomystax (Sharpe, 1892) – extreme E Uganda (Mt Elgon) and C Kenya S in highlands to NE Tanzania.
  • P. l. meridionalis (Ripley & Heinrich, 1969) – S Tanzania to Malawi mountains W of Rift Valley.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 9·5 cm; 8–14·5 g. Active small, green barbet. Both sexes dark olive-green above, with bright yellow rump; distinctive white malar stripe and dark lores... read more


    Song, by male or female, a short to long piping trill at 6–20 notes per second, slow to... read more


    Generally in forest with dense undergrowth in mountains, but ranges from small remnant patches of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats fruits and berries, especially mistletoe berries (Loranthaceae, including Engleriha inequilatera); also flycatches for... read more


    May–Jun and Aug–Jan in N, thus in either of 2 rainy seasons; mainly Oct–Nov in S; in Malawi, 2 broods in a year, with 2-... read more


    Resident; largely sedentary, with local dispersal and perhaps shifts to breeding areas (forest... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. The most widespread member of its superspecies, and the only one showing some adaptability. Locally common; fairly common to scarce in Kenya; less... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2018). Moustached Green Tinkerbird (Pogoniulus leucomystax). 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 21 July 2018).