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Prong-billed barbet

Semnornis frantzii

Description: The plumage of the Prong-billed barbet is orange-brown in color; the eyes are red and the bill is gray. The lower mandible of the bill has two little prongs and the hook on the upper mandible fits between these prongs. The tail is olive and the belly is gray tinged with yellow.

Size: Adults grow to about seven inches (18 cm).

Behavior: Prong-billed barbets forage in flocks and roost communally in groups up to 16 individuals. However, during breeding season the group disbands forming pairs who defend their nesting site from intruders.

Diet: They mainly eat fruits of trees and epiphytes, but will also eat flower petals and insects.

Communication: Their call is a throaty “cwa-cwa-cwa-cwa…” duet sung by a mated pair or two individuals in a group.

Reproduction: During the breeding season, strong bonds are formed between the mating pairs. Both the male and female help prepare the nest in an excavated cavity in a tree. Females lay four to five white glossy eggs, one per day. Incubation lasts about 14-15 days and when the nestlings hatch, they are naked and blind. Both parents participate in feeding, caring for the nestlings and teaching them how to fly when the time arrives.

Habitat/range: They inhabit the humid highland forests of Costa Rica and western Panama.

Status: Listed as Least Concern on IUCN Red List.