White-cheeked Barbet Psilopogon viridis Scientific name definitions

Anand Krishnan
Version: 2.0 — Published January 29, 2021


Welcome to Birds of the World!

You are currently viewing one of the free accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of the World. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this account.

For complete access to all accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in


Breeds primarily during the dry season of the year, in a tree cavity. More details are provided below.


In the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, this species begins nesting in December all the way to July, primarily in the dry season. Most nests are recorded between January and May, with a peak in March and April (14).

Nest Site

Site Characteristics

Nests in a tree cavity, from <5m all the way up to 20m from the ground. Most nests are found between 5 and 11m. Tends to select almost any branch or a soft, dead tree trunk, the male being more active in excavating the nest (14).



On average, excavates ( ) for around 200 minutes a day, discarding wood chips about 30m from the nest. Excavation is completed on average in 20 days (14).

Structure and Composition

The nest opening is a narrow, even circle, just large enough to fit the bird and exclude predators. The entrance leads to a slightly downward sloping ante-chamber, from where the main shaft begins. This is sloped so as to minimize the entry of water. Grown nestlings tend to sit in this chamber to receive food from the adult. The shaft widens into an oval nest chamber, lined only with wood chips from the excavation (14).


Nest dimensions (14):

Diameter of entrance hole (cm) Depth of hole (cm) Width of nest chamber (cm) Days taken to excavate
N=18 5.1 32.23 9.2 20



Eggs are elongated, possessing distinct blunt and pointed ends (14).


Egg dimensions (n = 21): 29.01 x 20.36mm, weight 6.58 grams (14). In this study, eggs were somewhat larger than those measured in previous literature (17).

Color and Surface Texture

White in color (14).

Clutch Size

Generally a clutch of 3 (sometimes 2)(14).

Egg Laying

Eggs are laid 3-5 days after the nest is completed. Birds often raise a second brood in the same season (14).


Incubation Period

Average incubation period is 14-15 days (14).

Parental Behavior

The parents become more attentive as incubation progresses, this peaking 2-3 days before hatching. Attentiveness is temperature dependent, being higher on colder mornings or in rainy weather. Both sexes incubate during the day, but the female alone incubates at night while the male roosts nearby (14).


Shell-breaking and Emergence

First-laid eggs hatch first, and hatching success is very high (over 92% in one study, only 3/40 did not hatch) (14).

Parental Assistance and Disposal of Egg-Shells

Parents remove the unhatched eggs; when the female was caught for sex determination, the male called loudly and then removed the eggs one by one, dropping them about 15 m from the nest (14).

Young Birds

Growth and Development

Feeding begins after all the eggs have hatched. The nestling period lasts 36-38 days, and the young are nidicolous. Weight of nestlings increases by about 2.7g per day, up to the 21st day, after which the weight more or less plateaus (14).

Parental Care


Both parents brood the young for the first 14 days. For the first 5-7 days, brooding is about 8-10 minutes per visit, and then about 2-4 minutes per visit afterward. After the 14th day, parents typically do not brood during the day, but females continue brooding at night until the young fledge (14).


Parents usually enter the nest to feed the young, except just prior to fledging when feeding occurs at the nest entrance. For the first few days, the young are mainly fed insects, and this species incorporates a considerable amount of insect matter throughout the nestling period. Visit rates by adults are as follows: 9.63 visits/hr for 3 nestlings, 8.46 for 2 nestlings, and 4.7 for one nestling (14).

Nest Sanitation

Both sexes perform nest sanitation ( ) (although only the female in one pair), disposing fecal matter about 35m from the nest. Two nests contained numerous maggots but the young still fledged successfully (14).

Cooperative Breeding

Not known for this species.

Brood Parasitism by Other Species

No published information.

Fledgling Stage

Departure from the Nest

All nestlings fledge simultaneously, usually in the morning (rarely afternoon) (14).

Association with Parents or other Young

Parent barbets cease feeding 2-3 days before fledging, uttering calls to coax the young out of the nest. Following fledging, parents and young remain together for 2-4 days and then separate. During this period, parents keep watch on the fledglings, leading them back to the roost hole in the evenings (14).

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