White-cheeked Barbet Psilopogon viridis Scientific name definitions

Anand Krishnan
Version: 2.0 — Published January 29, 2021


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Medium-sized barbet, smaller than Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus), with which it overlaps, and from which it easily is distinguished by its conspicuous white cheek-stripe. Mostly a deep green color, brighter on the underparts. Crown is dark brown, with black between the base of the bill and the eye. Short white supercilium, and a broad white cheek patch that gives the species its English name. Throat whitish; the breast is brown and streaked with white. The bill is relatively short compared to that of Brown-headed Barbet, and is brownish pink in color, with prominent black bristles projecting forward from the base (1, 2).

Similar Species

The only possible confusion within its range is with the Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus). The latter generally prefers drier forests, but the two overlap extensively. White-cheeked Barbet is a much smaller bird than the Brown-headed, and possesses a higher-pitched call. The white cheek-stripe is diagnostic, and visible even at long distances ( 1, 2).



Duller plumage then the adult, and more relaxed. Undersides more buff gray than green, and marks on breast and head are faint to absent. Head may appear mostly dull brown, especially at a distance where the streaks are not visible (2).


Sexes alike. Dorsal surface of the head dark brown from forehead to nape, with yellow-green or grayish edges to feathers giving it a somewhat scaled appearance. Upper back to rump is a deep green with some yellow at the tips of feathers. Narrow white superciliary stripe, with a broader white stripe extending under the eye to the base of the ear, under the brown ear-coverts. Green tail with soot-colored feather shafts, and bluish sheen to the underside. Chin is white, fading to a grayish throat with white streaking, and then to a brown breast with broad white spots. These spots result from a broad white spot in the centre of each feather, narrowing towards the sides. Belly and vent are pale blue-green, and are of a considerably lighter shade than the back. Outer wing primaries brownish, inner primaries bright green. Underwing shades from yellowish at the base to grayish near the tip (2).


Complete post-nuptial molt (see Breeding), but no spring molt. Worn birds are generally paler than fresh-plumaged birds (1).

Bare Parts

Bill and Gape

Bill a pale brownish or flesh color, with more brown on the culmen and more gray toward the base, and a pinkish mouth lining. Long bristles extend outward from the base of the bill, but do not reach the bill tip (2).

Iris and Facial Skin

Narrow black patch of orbital skin, and eyelids; the eyes themselves are brown (2).

Tarsi and Toes

The legs are gray-green to blue-gray, with brownish claws (2).


Linear Measurements

Measurements in Short and Horne (2):

Measurements in mm (mean in brackets, with sample size) Male Female
Wing 91-104 (98.2, n = 16) 93-109 (99.3, n = 19)
Tail 58-65 (61.7, n = 15) 58-69 (61.9, n = 19)
Bill 22.4-27.9 (24.47, n = 17) 23.6-28.7 (25.44, n = 19)
Tarsus 23.2-27 (25.51, n = 17) 22.9-27.3 (25.31, n = 19)

Further measurements detailed below (3):

N = 13 Bill length Bill Width Bill depth Wing Tail Tarsus
Range (mm) 22.6-26.1 11.2-13.8 11.2-13.5 90-110 53.3-68.7 26.4-31.3


1 female weighed 84g, 16 unsexed individuals weighed from 71-90g (mean 80.5g) (2).

Recommended Citation

Krishnan, A. (2021). White-cheeked Barbet (Psilopogon viridis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.whcbar1.02