Brown-headed Barbet: A Feathered Gem of Indian Subcontinent

In India’s tropical and subtropical forests, one can hear a repetitive ‘kutroo…kutroo’ resounding through the trees. Look up, and you might glimpse a vibrant, chunky bird—the Brown-headed Barbet. Measuring 27 cm, it’s not your average petite bird. With a distinctive blend of green plumage, a brown head, and a unique call, it marks its presence boldly. As a bird lover, spotting one can indeed be a delightful experience. The Brown-headed Barbet is not confined to the wilderness; it has made its way into city parks and urban gardens, making it a versatile species you might see if you’re walking through a bird sanctuary or a bustling city street.

Table for the Brown-headed Barbet

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameBrown-headed Barbet
2Scientific namePsilopogon zeylanicus
3ColourGreen body, streaked brown head
4Average length27 cm
5Average height27 cm (measured vertically)
6Type of birdForest bird, also found in gardens
7Found in IndiaPeninsular India, Southern Nepal to Sri Lanka
8HabitatTropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, gardens
9IUCN StatusLeast Concern

Features of the Brown-headed Barbet


The Brown-headed Barbet measures an average length of 27 cm. Although considered short compared to other birds of its family, it is stocky and robust. Due to its well-built physique, it can easily perch on branches for extended periods and quickly manoeuvre through trees. Capturing its size and structure can be challenging and rewarding if you’re a bird lover with a penchant for bird photos.


The height of the Brown-headed Barbet, when measured vertically from its feet to the tip of its crown, is also around 27 cm. A bird of such height adds a unique flavour to the rich birdlife of the Indian subcontinent. If you’re a bird lover exploring a bird sanctuary, remember to look for this relatively large bird amidst the green foliage.

Running Speed

While its natural tendency is to fly rather than run, the Brown-headed Barbet can scramble quickly through branches when foraging or escaping predators. It may not win a race, but its agility is undoubtedly commendable.


One of the most captivating features of this bird is its colour scheme. With a green body and a streaked brown head, it is a marvel for anyone keen on bird photography or simply an admirer of bird pictures.

Habitat and Food of the Bird

  1. Distribution: From the Terai in southern Nepal to Sri Lanka, encompassing most of peninsular India.
  1. Habitat: Prefers tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests but is also commonly found in gardens and urban parks.
  1. Human Tolerance: Tends to be fairly tolerant of human activity, often seen in city parks.
  1. Diet: Feeds on a variety of fruits such as mangoes, jackfruits, and papayas, as well as insects.
  1. Foraging Habits: Primarily an arboreal species that spends most of its time in trees.

Nesting and Nurturing

Breeding generally occurs in tree holes, where the bird lays 2-4 eggs. Both sexes are involved in the incubation process and nurturing of the chicks. If you’re lucky enough to find a bird nest in your vicinity, you might hear their distinctive ‘Kura, Kura’ calls communicating between the couple.


While listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, the bird faces threats from habitat loss due to rapid urbanization. Additionally, being a fruit eater, the availability of indigenous fruit trees is crucial for its survival.

IUCN Status and Conservation

The Brown-headed Barbet is currently listed as ‘Least Concern’ by IUCN. However, constant vigilance is needed to ensure the bird continues flourishing. If you’re keen on supporting birdlife sanctuary efforts or are part of a birdhouse community, it’s important to advocate for preserving their natural habitats.


The Brown-headed Barbet is a fascinating subject for anyone interested in bird migration, bird image names, or simply the joy of bird watching. Next time you’re in a bird shop near me, remember that these wonders of nature are best enjoyed in their natural habitat.

More info about Brown-headed Barbet – Link

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