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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.

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References and further reading

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

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

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

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

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

List of South African Birds

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