Vaalnest reviews the Barbet, Crested bird
The Crested Barbet is a welcome garden bird, as it almost eliminates the local snail population.
The Crested Barbet is common in a wide range of woodland habitats. It prefers moist or dry open woodland, with trees such as Brachystegia and Colospermum mopane, but is also found in savanna, suburban gardens, woodland thickets, watercourses and grassland with patches of alien trees. The Crested Barbet is omnivorous, which means it eats largely insects - such as termites, beetles, grasshoppers, moths- when fruit is scarce. Its favourite fruits seem to be: karees, guarris, wild figs and jackal berries. It forages for insects mostly on the ground, sometimes flying into foliage to eat fruit. This bird is also known to feed from the aloe and weeping boer-bean nectar, and is famous from eating snails in gardens, where it is usually welcome for that reason. Occasionally, it will also take in eggs or even chicks of other birds. Here are some features to look out for when spotting the crested:
- The belly is yellow with red speckles
- Wings are black with white specks
- It has a broad black band on its neck
- The face is peckled yellow and red
- It has a small black crest.
The Crested Barbet is very vocal, the call being a trill that can continue for long periods. It has a distinct shrill which also makes the Crested Barbet a small bird that blends well in the bush.
1. Birds of Eden www.birdsofeden.co.za