Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Spot-flanked Barbet (Tricholaema lacrymosa)


French: Barbican funèbre German: Tränenbartvogel Spanish: Barbudo lacrimoso

Tricholaema lacrymosa


, 1878,

Athi River, central Kenya


Species name sometimes misspelt as lachrymosa. Closely related to T. melanocephala; apparently quite closely affiliated also with the group that includes T. diademata, T. frontata and T. leucomelas. Races only weakly differentiated; ruahae sometimes considered inseparable from radcliffei; proposed race narokensis, from Doinyo Narok (Kenya), included within nominate. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. l. lacrymosa Cabanis, 1878 – NE DRCongo to South Sudan and C Kenya, and S to C Uganda and NE Tanzania.
  • T. l. radcliffei Ogilvie-Grant, 1904 – E DRCongo and S Uganda to WC Kenya, S to Burundi and W Tanzania.
  • T. l. ruahae Neumann, 1908 – SW & EC Tanzania and NE Zambia.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 18–27 g. Small black, white and yellow barbet. Male nominate race with white supercilia, blackish upperparts, brown rump with yellow streaks; wing... read more


    Song “hoop” notes in series at 1–2 per second, in interactions to 4 per second;... read more


    Inhabits wet woodland, wetter areas in dry woodland, also riverine woods, patches of forest and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on fruits of many kinds, e.g. mistletoe (Loranthus) berries, Ficus and Cordia; also takes various types of... read more


    Generally Sept–May, or Jul, usually in dry period before or after rains. Usually in pairs, occasionally trios. Male cocks tail, and... read more


    Resident and sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. No information on numbers or densities; locally common in Kenya and Tanzania. Where competition from larger barbets is intense, nests in thin stubs... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2019). Spot-flanked Barbet (Tricholaema lacrymosa). 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 23 September 2019).