Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Naked-faced Barbet (Gymnobucco calvus)


French: Barbican chauve German: Glatzenbartvogel Spanish: Barbudo calvo común

Bucco calvus


, 1841,

Ashanti, Ghana


Apparently related rather closely to G. sladeni and G. peli. Hitherto considered conspecific with G. vernayi. Birds from Mt Cameroon S to Gabon formerly separated from nominate as race major. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. c. calvus (Lafresnaye, 1841) – SW Guinea#R and Sierra Leone E to Cameroon and Gabon.
  • G. c. congicus Chapin, 1932 – W Congo and W DRCongo S to NW Angola.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 17–18 cm; 47–71 g. Male nominate race with crown and face unfeathered, blackish to blue-grey; buff to dull brown bristly tufts on chin and at lateral base of... read more


    Song reported to be soft “poo” in accelerating series of 7–10 notes, but recently... read more


    Primary and adjacent secondary forest, into wooded grassland, and nearby plantations, farms and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats diverse wild and cultivated fruits, including those of Antiaris, Broussonetia, Celtis, Discoglypremna... read more


    Breeds Mar–Dec in W Africa, also Jan–Feb in Ghana and Nigeria; most of year in Cameroon, Oct–Apr in Gabon and Congo, and... read more


    Resident; shifts foraging sites as different fruiting trees come into fruit.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common throughout range. Only recently discovered in Benin. Seems less affected by fragmenting of forest than are G. sladeni and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L., Horne, J.F.M. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Naked-faced Barbet (Gymnobucco calvus). 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 20 October 2019).