The mesmerizing Toucan Barbet is a stunning bird found in the cloud forests, featuring a mix of striking hues such as red, green, orange, and yellow. It is an iconic bird that never fails to amaze with its iridescent tones.
The toucan barbet, a member of the Semnornithidae family, is a sturdy barbet that measures 19 to 21 cm (7.5–8.3 in) in length and weighs between 80 and 115 g (2.8–4.1 oz). This medium-sized bird has a robust beak that features a yellow maxilla and a light green mandible with dark ends. It boasts colorful plumage that includes a black crown, “mask,” and thin cervical collar. Long occipital feathers and a noticeable white stripe behind the eyes that contrasts with a bright red iris are other distinguishing features. The nape of the neck is golden-brown at the top and becomes yellow towards the rear. Grayish-blue colors adorn the throat, upper breast, and sides of the nape while the lower breast and middle belly are bright red. Finally, the lower belly is a yellowish-green hue.
The color of their wings and tail is a shade of grey. It can be difficult to distinguish between male and female as they have similar physical features, but the female’s feathers are slightly less vibrant than the male’s.
The occurrence of this type of flora can be observed in the areas situated at the western part of the Andes specifically in the regions of southern Colombia and northern Ecuador.
The toucan barbet typically resides in mountain evergreen forests, secondary forests, open woodlands, and pastures. They can be found at elevations ranging between 1,000 to 2,400 meters above sea level.
These birds have a preference for fruits and are known to be frugivorous. They enjoy consuming a variety of fruits, including Cecropia and Ficus. However, if the chance arises, they will devour insects such as termites.
From February to October, Toucan barbets engage in breeding activities. These social birds live in small family units consisting of up to six individuals, comprising an adult pair and their young ones that assist in rearing the next generation. They typically nest in tree hollows, where the female lays 2-3 eggs that are incubated by all group members for about two weeks. After hatching, all members of the group take turns feeding the chicks, which fledge after 43-46 days but remain reliant on their parents and siblings for another 4 weeks before gaining full independence.
The number of individuals belonging to this particular species is decreasing quite rapidly as a result of unlawful trapping for the global market of cage birds, and the deterioration of their natural habitats which is caused by extensive logging, human settlements, cattle grazing, mining activities, and the growth of coca and palm crops.
Observe this avian creature in the accompanying video: