Great Barbet (Psilopogon virens)

The Great Barbet is a large, colourful and striking bird with a red vent, blue head, brown and green and yellow streaked body and a large yellow bill, found in South East Asia and foothills of the Himalayas. They are well over a foot in length and can easily be spotted due to their large size and noisy calls, of which they have three types.

They are resident birds, breeding from April to July and building nests in the trunks of tree holes. They are found between 1000 to 3000 meters in the Himalayas, moving to lower altitudes in the winters.

Though they are often found singly or in pairs, large groups of over 30 birds are seen to forage for fruits early in the morning in the foothills of the Himalayas. I saw one such group of about 15 Great Barbets on the foothills of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh recently.

They are known to live for over 30 years, and visit the same spots often in their lifetime.

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