Toucan barbet

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Toucan barbet
Semnornis ramphastinus -Mindo, Ecuador-8 (5).jpg
In Mindo, Ecuador
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Semnornithidae
Genus: Semnornis
Species: S. ramphastinus
Binomial name
Semnornis ramphastinus
(Jardine, 1855)

The toucan barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus) is a distinctive bird found in humid forests growing on the west Andean slopes in north-western Ecuador and south-western Colombia. While it remains fairly common locally, it has declined due to habitat loss and trapping for the cage-bird trade.

In the past, it has been grouped with the other barbets in the Capitonidae. However, DNA studies have confirmed that this arrangement is paraphyletic; the New World barbets are more closely related to the toucans than they are to the Old World barbets.[2] As a result, the barbet lineages are now considered to be distinct families, and the toucan barbet, together with the prong-billed barbet, is now placed into a separate family, Semnornithidae.

The toucan barbet is unusual among frugivorous birds in that it breeds cooperatively, with several helpers aiding the dominant breeding pair with incubation and raising the young.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Semnornis ramphastinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Restrepo, Carla; Mondragón, Marta Lucy (1998). "Cooperative Breeding in the Frugivorous Toucan Barbet (Semnornis ramphastinus)" (PDF). The Auk 115 (1): 4–15. doi:10.2307/4089106.