IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Biology

The toucan barbet lives in small groups of up to six birds, consisting of an adult pair and their young. In a wonderful display of cooperation, this small group will together defend a territory and the young assist the adult pair during breeding (4) (5). Territories are established about a roosting cavity in a dead tree trunk, which is defended against other toucan barbets. The female lays two to three eggs between February and October (4), and the elder offspring help incubate the eggs, brood and feed the nestlings, and defend the nest against predators. Such teamwork pays off, as pairs with helpers produce more fledglings than those without (5). The chicks fledge at 43 to 46 days of age and the young then proceed to follow the parents around, for about four weeks, begging for food (4). While toucan barbets will eat insects, such as termites, if they come across them, fruit forms the majority of the diet and they feed on a remarkable 62 different types (2). About 12 hours each day are spent foraging (2), which is generally done in pairs or groups. Toucan barbets hop about on low branches, often cocking their tails, and gradually climb upwards as they search for fruits and insects (4). They frequently interact with other toucan barbets by making clicking noises, and the noise of their floppy wing movements in flight, said to resemble a faraway motor, also draws attention (4).

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Source: ARKive

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