Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Red-and-yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus)


French: Barbican à tête rouge German: Flammenkopf-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo cabecirrojo

Trachyphonus erythrocephalus


, 1878,

Ukamba, south-west Kenya


Close to T. margaritatus, with which sometimes considered conspecific; both rather closely related to T. darnaudii, less so to T. vaillantii. Proposed races gallarum (SC Ethiopia) and jacksoni (S Ethiopia to NC Kenya) probably represent intergrades of races shelleyi and versicolor. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. e. shelleyi Hartlaub, 1886 – E Ethiopia to NW & S Somalia.
  • T. e. versicolor Hartlaub, 1882 – NE Uganda and SE South Sudan to S & CE Ethiopia and N Kenya.
  • T. e. erythrocephalus Cabanis, 1878 – C Kenya to NE & NC Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–23 cm; 40–75 g. Very distinctive barbet. Male nominate race has black cap and slight crest, and black throat patch; spotted and streaked red, yellow, white and... read more


    Songs “erupt” from greeting ceremony and chorus of all group-members, but only primary... read more


    Uneven terrain with outcrops, steep stream channels, or termite mounds in open woodland, wooded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Figs, other fruits and their seeds, as well as spiders, various insect larvae, beetles, mantids, grasshoppers, locusts, harvestmen,... read more


    Feb–Jul in N, also in S, where may breed Sept–Jan; mainly during and after rains. Male of group hops about primary female, male... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but wanders; occurs casually S to SC Tanzania, and wanders into range of T.... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common throughout range. Group size probably reflects relative health of populations. Dominant over other barbets,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2017). Red-and-yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus). 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 15 December 2017).