Green Barbet
93384327 nkAZcRtb GreenBarbetStactolaemaolivacea2
Stactolaema olivacea olivacea
Range Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Piciformes
Family Lybiidae
Genus Stactolaema
Species Stactolaema olivacea
Conservation Status
Least Concern

The Green barbet (Stactolaema olivacea), is a species of African barbet in the Lybiidae family. It is found in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. It occurs in forests from sea-level to 1,800 metres (5,900 ft). Its isolated populations are vulnerable to forest clearing.


The number of races (or species) is not generally agreed upon, and the conservation status of the taxa depend critically on their taxonomic evaluation. Race Stactolaema olivacea hylophona is sometimes merged with woodwardi in a taxon with tentative species status, the so-called Woodward's barbet. These birds have the ear coverts and hind brow marked in yellow, as opposed to the dusky-headed populations. The type was obtained from oNgoye Forest in South Africa, and named for its discoverers, the Woodward brothers. Stactolaema olivacea belcheri, which lacks the yellow ear coverts, is endemic to two isolated inselbergs, and may constitute a third species.


  • Stactolaema olivacea belcheri: Mt Thyolo in Malawi and Mt Namuli in Mozambique.
  • Stactolaema olivacea howelli: East Udzungwa Mountains in Tanzania.
  • Stactolaema olivacea hylophona: the Ngarama, Rondo (where common) and possibly Mitundumbea forest reserves of coastal Tanzania.
  • Stactolaema olivacea olivacea: coastal Kenya to uplands of central Tanzania
  • Stactolaema olivacea rungweensis: Mt Rungwe and Poroto Mts, Tanzania to Misuku Hills, northern Malawi.
  • Stactolaema olivacea uluguruensis: Uluguru Mountains of eastern Tanzania.
  • Stactolaema olivacea woodwardi: oNgoye in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


They have dull ginger-olive plumage, but are yellower on the wings, and paler below. The head and chin are dark brown in the nominate race, and the eyes vary from dull red to orange. The bill is black and the feet blackish. Juveniles are duller, with brown eyes.


They frequent fruiting branches in the subcanopy, and vary from solitary to social during foraging and roosting. It is a sedentary species which is not known to undertake any movements. It may be particularly dependent on the fruit of wild figs. It breeds in cavities in tree trunks during mid summer.


Their call is a repetitive chock, chock, ..., or chop, chop, ..., sometimes in a duet.

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