IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

The Zambian barbet is a social bird that roosts and forages in territorial groups of two to six birds, and communicates in a variety of elaborate ways. The greeting ceremony, for example, comprises two or more birds engaging in a gymnastic spectacle of bouncing, bowing, hopping, swinging and wing-flapping, accompanied by plenty of harsh cackling (2) (3). Each group aggressively defends its territory, attacking other Zambian barbets, as well as other species, that dare to intrude on their trees (3). As figs form the bulk of its diet, the Zambian barbet has a particularly close affinity with fig trees. However, this species will also eat other fruits and berries, as well as a number of arthropods (2) (3) (6). During the breeding season, which extends from around August until November, nests are made in holes in the branches of dead or live fig trees. Very little else is known about the breeding biology of the Zambian barbet, except that each pair lays two to four eggs, and that the lesser honeyguide (Indicator minor) sometimes lays its own eggs in the nest of Zambian barbets (2) (3). This is a form of parasitism, common in some species of birds such as the honeyguides, which normally results in the host parents unwittingly incubating another bird's eggs and rearing its young, often to the detriment of its own (7).

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Source: ARKive

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