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Stactolaema whytii (Whyte's barbet) 

Geelbleshoutkapper [Afrikaans]; Whyte-baardvogel [Dutch]; Barbican de Whyte [French]; Spiegelbartvogel [German]; Barbaças de Whyte [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Piciformes > Family: Lybiidae

Stactolaema whytii (Whyte's barbet)   

Whyte's barbet, Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens, Zimbabwe. [photo Ian Nason ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs from southern Tanzania, through Zambia and Malawi, to eastern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique. It generally prefers climax and well developed miombo (Brachystegia) woodland on basal granite, especially if they are plenty of wild figs (Ficus).

Distribution of Whyte's barbet in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Scaly-throated honeyguide.

Movements and migrations

Resident and locally nomadic, moving in response to the availability of fruit.


Mainly eats fruit taken directly from plants, supplemented with nectar and insects, hawking prey aerially or gleaning them from vegetation. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • fruit
      • Ficus (wild figs)
      • Uapaca kirkiana (Mahobohobo)
      • Syzygium guineense (Pale-bark waterberry)
      • Grewia retinervis (Kalahari raisin)
      • Pappea capensis (Jacket-plum)
      • Morus (mulberries)
      • Psidium (guavas)
      • Persea (avocados)
    • nectar
      • Erythrina latissima (Broad-leaved coral tree)
  • Insects


  • Monogamous, facultative cooperative breeder, as the breeding pair are assisted by 1-6 helpers.
  • The nest is an excavated hole in a dead branch, which often has several holes from different breeding seasons; it may also use the old nest of a Black-collared barbet.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-January, peaking from September-October.
  • It lays 3-6 eggs eggs on a bed of wood chips.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents and group members, leaving the nest after about 49 days.


Status uncertain, although it is vulnerable to the clearing of indigenous woodland for agriculture.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.