Yellow-Billed Barbet

The Yellow-Billed Barbet, or Trachyphonus purpuratus, is surely one of Uganda's most spectacular birds. Remarkable for the bill and bare yellow skin around its eyes, the plumage of the Yellow-Billed Barbet also rewards close inspection. Note the dark maroon breast finely flecked with silver and the yellow belly mottled black. Relatively common in a variety of forest habitats, the barbet can be fairly difficult to see well as it keeps to thick tangles. On a recent trip to Kibale National Park, we observed a mating pair at Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, where they were nesting in a tree cavity near the trail. Most delightful was to watch the effort with which the barbet emits its monotonous hooping call. Whereas many barbets and tinkerbirds project upwards as they call, the Yellow-Billed Barbet belches towards the forest floor.

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