Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Red-fronted Barbet (Tricholaema diademata)


French: Barbican à diadème German: Diadembartvogel Spanish: Barbudo diademado

Pogonorhynchus diadematus


, 1861,

upper White Nile, Ethiopia


Closely related to T. frontata and T. leucomelas, and all three have in the past been considered conspecific; all respond strongly to playback of each other’s song. Fairly closely related also to T. lacrymosa. Races weakly differentiated; birds from NE Uganda E to Mt Kenya, described as race musta, now considered inseparable from nominate. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. d. diademata (Heuglin, 1861) – SE South Sudan and NC Ethiopia S to SE Uganda and C Kenya.
  • T. d. massaica (Reichenow, 1887) – SC Kenya S to SW & C Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 22–25 g. Small, short-tailed barbet with black, white and yellow plumage, prominent notch on bill tomia. Male of nominate race has red forehead, yellow... read more


    Primary song slow to fast series of up to 20 “hoop” notes, usually 4–6 per second... read more


    Occupies woodland such as Acacia and Combretum woods, but also wooded grassland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats fruits such as those of Carissa edulis, Euclea, Grewia and others, also tendrils of vines and thistle-like... read more


    Jan–Sept in most areas, also Nov–Mar in N Tanzania. Singing posture with bill pointing down, rump and throat feathers erected;... read more


    Resident and sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon in Kenya and N Tanzania. Numbers seem to be stable. Species is somewhat adaptable, as it frequents degraded habitats that retain potential... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2018). Red-fronted Barbet (Tricholaema diademata). 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 March 2018).