Family African Barbets (Lybiidae)

Least Concern

Vieillot's Barbet (Lybius vieilloti)


French: Barbican de Vieillot German: Blutbrust-Bartvogel Spanish: Barbudo sangrante

Pogonius vieilloti


, 1815,



Not very closely related to congeners, probably closest to the group comprising L. leucocephalus (and forms previously included within it), L. chaplini and L. rubrifacies. Races ill-defined, with some mosaic pattern, and clinal variation in colour intensity. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. v. buchanani E. J. O. Hartert, 1924 – S Mauritania and Mali E to S Chad, and S to S Sahel region (E to NC Nigeria).
  • L. v. rubescens (Temminck, 1823) – Sahel fringe from Gambia and Sierra Leone E to C Nigeria, C Cameroon, Central African Republic and NC DRCongo, reaching coast from Ivory Coast to Nigeria.
  • L. v. vieilloti (Leach, 1815) – C & E Sudan, NW Ethiopia and N Eritrea#R S to NE DRCongo, South Sudan and W Ethiopia.
  • Descriptive notes

    c. 16 cm; 31–43 g. Distinctive red, brown and yellow barbet with strong bill and short-tailed, dumpy appearance. Both sexes of nominate race with red head, blackish... read more


    Song by 1 or 2 of group an “ope-ope-” at intervals of c. 1·4 seconds, others of... read more


    Wooded grassland, forest-grassland mosaic, open woods, streamside trees, forest edges and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats fruits, such as those of Ziziphus mauritiana, gourds (Coccinea grandis), Butyrospermum, mistletoe (... read more


    Apr–Sept generally; also later in year in W (after rains); also Jan in Liberia. Nest excavated in dead branch or stub, often in... read more


    Resident; largely sedentary, but post-breeding groups sometimes move around beyond usual territory... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common; common in Sierra Leone; in Liberia, 20–35 pairs/km², with inselbergs cleared for agriculture holding single pairs. Loss of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L. & Horne, J.F.M. (2017). Vieillot's Barbet (Lybius vieilloti). 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 November 2017).