Crimson-headed barbet (Capito bourcieri).—C. Laubscher/Bruce Coleman Inc.
Any of about 80 species of tropical birds (family Capitonidae) named for the bristles at the base of their stout, sharp bill. They are big-headed and short-tailed, 3.5–12 in. (9–30 cm) long, and greenish or brownish with splashes of bright colours or white. Barbets are found throughout Central America and in northern South America, in sub-Saharan Africa, and in South Asia. They all fly weakly, and they sit in treetops when not feeding on insects, lizards, birds' eggs, fruits, and berries. They call loudly while jerking the head or tail. Maddeningly vocal or repetitious species are sometimes called brain-fever birds.