Red-fronted tinkerbird

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Red-fronted tinkerbird
Tinkerbird Red-fronted 2010 10 08 16 Alan Manson Ithala GR.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Lybiidae
Genus: Pogoniulus
Species: P. pusillus
Binomial name
Pogoniulus pusillus
(Dumont, 1816)

The red-fronted tinkerbird, Pogoniulus pusillus formerly known as the red-fronted tinker barbet is a small African barbet. Barbets are near passerine birds with bristles around the base of the bill. They have a world-wide tropical distribution.

The red-fronted tinkerbird is a widespread and frequently common resident breeder in eastern South Africa, with a separate population from southern Sudan and Ethiopia south to central and eastern Tanzania. It is sometimes considered conspecific with its northern counterpart, the yellow-fronted tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus.

The red-fronted tinkerbird is associated with juniper forest and scrub. It nests in a tree hole and lays two or three eggs. It eats berries and fruit, particularly mistletoe, but also takes insects as it forages in deep cover.

The red-fronted tinkerbird is 9–10.5 cm (3.5–4.1 in) in length. It is a plump bird, with a short neck, large head, and short tail. The adult has black upperparts heavlly streaked with yellow and white, and a golden wing patch. Its head has a strong black and white pattern, with a red forecrown spot. Its underparts and rump are lemon yellow. Sexes are similar in appearance, but young birds lack the red forehead.

This species is distinguished from the yellow-fronted tinkerbird by the colour of the forehead spot, the golden wing patch, and its overall darker appearance. It is often confused with the red-fronted barbet, but it is significantly smaller than that species, has a black moustache and a less robust bill, and lacks a broad yellow superciliary stripe.

At about 100 repetitions per minute, the red-fronted tinkerbird's call is a fast tink-tink-tink-tink, very similar to that of the yellow-fronted tinkerbird. Many barbets perch prominently, but unlike their larger relatives, the smaller tinkerbirds sing from cover and are more frequently heard than seen.

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