The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

White-eared Barbet

Afrikaans name: Witoorhoutkapper

White-eared Barbets typically perch in the top of trees

White-eared Barbet

Photo © Steven Herbert

Stactolaema leucotis

The White-eared Barbet has a limited range in South Africa. It occurs at various places along the KwaZulu-Natal coastal region from around Durban to Kosi Bay. It is most common towards the north.

These birds are most often seen high up in trees where they feed on fruit. Wild Figs are a particular favourite. They also eat nectar from Mountain Aloes, and they will also take termite alates when available.

White-eared Barbets are monogamous, but an interesting feature of their breeding behaviour is that the pair are assisted by helpers. They breed in Spring and Summer with October to December being the peak time. The pair excavate a hole in a dead branch where the female will lay up to 6 eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs with assistance from their helpers. The male, female and helpers all assist with feeding duties and it is interesting that most of the food brought to the nest consists of insects and less wild figs. The chicks leave the nest after about 5 to 6 weeks.

References and further reading

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 295

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 310

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 405

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 402

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 264

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 272

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 230

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 177

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 133

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 262

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 47

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 190

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 262

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 172

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 155

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 94

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 94

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 187

BirdLife South Africa


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List of South African Birds

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