It often has been placed with the other barbets in the Capitonidae. However, DNA studies have confirmed that this arrangement is paraphyletic; New World barbets are more closely related to toucans than they are to Old World barbets. As a result, the barbet lineages are considered distinct families; the prong-billed barbet and the toucan barbet now form a separate family, Semnornithidae.
The prong-billed barbet prefers cool, wet, moss-festooned mountain forest with large trees and adjacent habitat. Eats mainly fruits of trees and epiphytes, although it occasionally takes insects or flower petals. Flight is direct with rapid and buzzy wingbeats. The frequently heard and distinctive song is a throaty "cwa-cwa-cwa-cwa..." duet given by mated pair or two individuals in a group. Pairs nest March–May in an unlined woodpecker cavity, with 4–5 eggs in the nest.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Semnornis frantzii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Lanyon, Scott M.; Hall, John G (April 1994). "Reexamination of Barbet Monophyly Using Mitochondrial-DNA Sequence Data" (PDF). The Auk. 111 (2): 389–397. doi:10.2307/4088602.
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