Family Prong-billed Barbets (Semnornithidae)

Near Threatened

Toucan Barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus)


French: Cabézon toucan German: Tukanbartvogel Spanish: Cabezón tucán

Tetragonops ramphastinus


, 1855,

between Quito and Mount Cayambe, in east Ecuadorian Andes


Shares distinctive bill morphology with S. frantzii, but relationship not very close. Races poorly defined. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. r. caucae Gyldenstolpe, 1941 – W Colombia on both slopes of W Andes, from Valle to Nariño.
  • S. r. ramphastinus (Jardine, 1855) – Andes of NW & WC Ecuador.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–21 cm; 73–111 g. Distinctively patterned, chunky, colourful barbet with short bill “swollen” at base. Male has black around bill base to lores and... read more


    Song a series of foghorn-like “hawnk” to “aw” notes at 1·5–2... read more


    Inhabits understorey of wet montane forest, especially at edges and in dense second growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits of at least 62 species of some 20 plant families, mostly of species found in disturbed areas, and including especially Cecropia... read more


    Feb–Oct; sometimes 2 or even 3 broods in a season. Group often breaks up at start of breeding; c. 42% nest in pairs, remainder in... read more


    Resident; sedentary, dispersal averages only 0·5 km.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES III. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Chocó EBA. Generally uncommon to locally common within... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2019). Toucan Barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus). 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 19 July 2019).