Bearded Barbet

(Lybius dubius)




Facts about this animal

With a length of 25cm and a weight of 80-108g, the bearded barbet is the second largest of the African arboreal barbets, topped only by the black-breasted barbet (Lybius rolleti). The plumage is dominated by black on the head, back, wings, tail and lower chest. The upper breast is red as is most of the lower breast, although the lower is mixed with white. A band of black feathers separates the two areas. Yellow skin surrounds their eyes. Sexes look similar. Like many barbets, the bearded barbet has a strong bill with 'teeth' or grooves.

Bearde barbets occur around trees in dry areas, including umbrella thornAcacia tortilis spp., baobab Adansonia digitata, sycamore figs (Ficus sycomorus) and others, eating fruit and presumably insects as well.

Little is known about the (wild) breeding habits of the bearded barbet. They seem to breed throughout the year, depending on the location but the most common period appears to be from May to September. Since its bill is not as “chisel-like” as that of a woodpecker, they tend to excavate nests in the softer wood of dead trees or its limbs. Unless they can take over an old woodpecker’s hole. Courtship includes food offerings, tail flicking and some vocalizations. This occurs 1 or 2 months before the breeding season. Copulation is frequent during the breeding season usually after the courtship feeding. There are usually 2 eggs, which incubate after at least, 16 days. The chicks are fed a diet of fruit and insects. They fledge after approximately 40 days.

Did you know?
that the barbets get their name from the bristles or tufts of feathers ewhich fringe their heavy bills? Of all the 43 species, the bearded barbet's bristles are the most pronounced.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Lybius dubius
Name (English) Bearded Barbet
Name (French) Barbican à poitrine rouge
Name (German) Senegalfurchenschnabel
Name (Spanish) Barbudo Pechirrojo
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Larry Linton



Range Western and central Africa
Habitat Woodland, secondary growth, thickets and orchards in dry areas
Wild population Exact number unknown but common in their territories (2002) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 93 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Bearded Barbet


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 11F of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Larry Linton

Why do zoos keep this animal

The bearded barget is not a threatened species in te wild. Zoos keep it primarily for educational purposes, usually as part of an African savannah exhibit.