The Alluring Malabar Barbet: A Jewel of the Western Ghats


The Malabar Barbet, scientifically known as Psilopogon malabaricus, is a stunning avian species native to the Western Ghats of India. Unlike its relative, the coppersmith barbet, this bird stands out with a crimson face and throat, offering a mesmerizing contrast to the lush green habitats it frequents. Distinguished by its rapid call notes and unique behavior, the Malabar Barbet has become a subject of interest for bird lovers, ornithologists, and photographers alike. For those considering a trip to a bird sanctuary or exploring the birdlife of India, spotting this enigmatic species is an experience not to be missed.

Table of Characteristics

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameMalabar Barbet
2Scientific namePsilopogon malabaricus
3ColorCrimson face and throat
4Average lengthTo be determined
5Average heightTo be determined
6Type of birdForest bird
7Found in StatesGoa, Kerala, and other parts of Western Ghats
8HabitatMoist evergreen forest
9IUCN StatusTo be determined

Features of the Malabar Barbet


The Malabar Barbet exhibits a medium build, suitable for navigating the dense foliage of the forest. The species is known for its ability to blend into its surroundings, which is crucial for its survival against predators. Although the exact measurements may vary.


In the case of the Malabar Barbet, the term “height” refers to the length of the bird when measured in a vertical, upside-down position. It is a medium-sized bird, adeptly built for its forest-dwelling lifestyle.

Running Speed

The Malabar Barbet, though not typically known for its running speed, is an agile creature. When it comes to avoiding predators or hunting for food, the bird’s nimbleness is a sight to behold. Those who are lucky enough to witness the bird in action can vouch for its efficiency and speed.


The most striking feature of the Malabar Barbet is its vibrant coloration. Its crimson face and throat make it a unique spectacle in the birdlife sanctuary, captivating the hearts of bird lovers and photographers who treasure bird photos.

Habitat and Food of the Bird

  1. Habitat: Primarily found in moist evergreen forests in the Western Ghats.
  1. Diet: Feeds mostly on fruits but also consumes insects, especially during the breeding season.
  1. Ficus Species: Favors Ficus trees like Ficus retusa, Ficus gibbosa, and Ficus tsiela for feeding.
  1. Mixed-Species Flocks: Often joins mixed-species foraging flocks during the non-breeding season.
  1. Coffee Estates: Known to inhabit coffee estates, highlighting its adaptability.

Nesting and Nurturing

The Malabar Barbet goes to great lengths to prepare its nest, typically excavated on the underside of thin branches. This complex nesting structure is often vulnerable to destruction by larger barbets. Two eggs are usually laid, and these are incubated for approximately 14-15 days. Once hatched, the chicks are initially fed insects and later fruits.


Among the significant threats to the Malabar Barbet are habitat destruction and predation. Loss of forest habitats to agriculture and urbanization poses a constant threat, leading many to call for better conservation strategies.

IUCN Status and Conservation

The IUCN status of the Malabar Barbet is still to be determined. Given its specialized habitat requirements, the species is likely susceptible to the impacts of environmental change. Thus, concerted conservation efforts, potentially involving bird sanctuaries, are required.


In conclusion, the Malabar Barbet, or Psilopogon malabaricus, is an extraordinary bird species that dazzles with its vibrant crimson face and throat. Primarily found in the lush, evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, this bird is a must-see for bird lovers, photographers, and anyone interested in birdlife. Its unique nesting behavior and diet, primarily consisting of fruits and occasionally insects, make it a fascinating subject for study. However, it’s imperative to note the challenges this bird faces, such as habitat destruction and predation. While its IUCN status is yet to be determined, the need for concerted conservation efforts, possibly involving bird sanctuaries, is urgent. Understanding this unique bird is not merely an academic interest but a step towards biodiversity conservation. Whether you’re interested in bird migration, bird nests, or capturing the perfect bird picture, the Malabar Barbet serves as a compelling reason to explore and preserve the avian wonders of our world.

More info about Malabar Barbet – Link

image_pdfDownload As PDF

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *