Blue-throated Barbet Psilopogon asiaticus Scientific name definitions

Anand Krishnan
Version: 2.0 — Published April 21, 2023

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The ubiquitous vocalizations of the Blue-throated Barbet are a conspicuous feature of lowland and low-altitude forests throughout its range. Here some of the major vocalizations are described.



Information needed, although evidence from an African barbet suggests that song is innate even at the nestling stage (40).

Vocal Array

Song is a distinctive three- or four-note phrase, repeated 90–105 times per minute. The notes typically peak around 1.2 kHz, although if the fourth note is present at the beginning, it is much lower, about 0.7–0.8 kHz. The song is described as took-a-rook, pu-ku-ruk, kut-ru-uk, etc., and the four-noted version as p-po-toh-kup or pu-kd-a-rru, the first note being lower as mentioned. The song typically ends in a brief trill (1), although this trill may also sometimes be uttered in isolation with a slight acceleration towards the end, and also sometimes preceding the song (AK). Birds countersing , with some variation in the interval between calls, such that individuals drift in and out of phase with each other (41).

Geographic Variation

Little variation across the range is described, except possibly in tempo (1), but more study is needed.


Songs are given year-round, but especially during the breeding season (1). At all times of year, the birds are highly vocal, their sounds representing some of the most frequently encountered in acoustic monitoring throughout their range. In Northeast India, this species and the Lineated Barbet (Psilopogon lineatus) are common sounds even in villages and small towns (AK).

Daily Pattern of Vocalizing

Little quantitative information, but in general barbets such as this species tend to start calling an hour or so after sunrise and frequently call through the day, even during hot weather when other species are silent (AK).

Places of Vocalizing

Mostly calls from the canopy of trees, where the bird is often hidden from view and its loud calls betray its presence. The calls are often somewhat ventriloquistic as in other barbets, rendering it difficult to locate the bird (AK).

Sex Differences

Information needed.

Social Context and Presumed Functions of Vocalizations

As this species is territorial, vocalizations serve to advertise and defend territories (1). More information is needed on vocalizations in other contexts.

Nonvocal Sounds

None described, although some noise may be produced by the wings in flight (AK).

Recommended Citation

Krishnan, A. (2023). Blue-throated Barbet (Psilopogon asiaticus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.bltbar2.02