White-cheeked Barbet Psilopogon viridis
Version: 2.0 — Published January 29, 2021
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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).
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|
Eggs are elongated, possessing distinct blunt and pointed ends (14).
Color and Surface Texture
White in color (14).
Generally a clutch of 3 (sometimes 2)(14).
Eggs are laid 3-5 days after the nest is completed. Birds often raise a second brood in the same season (14).
Average incubation period is 14-15 days (14).
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).
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).
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).
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).
Not known for this species.
Brood Parasitism by Other Species
No published information.
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).