Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Gold-whiskered barbet

Thai: นกโพระดกเคราเหลือง, nok phoradok khrao leuang

Binomial name: Psilopogon chrysopogon, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1824

The golden-whiskered barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon), a near passerine bird from Southeast Asia, is a species of Asian Barbet. Like those species referred to by the common name "toucan", the golden-whiskered barbet is in the Ramphastidae family.


At 24 to 30 centimeters in length and weighing from 110 to 181 grams, the golden-whiskered barbet is one of the largest of the sixteen species of barbets in Southeast Asia. Their green overall plumage and yellow "whiskered" cheeks camouflages them amid the foliage they favor. Genders are similar in appearance but do display a small degree of sexual dichromatism in that the beaks of female specimens appear paler and have a dusky bluish color. Before reaching maturity birds of both sexes have duller overall plumage.

Habit and Diet

This bird spends most of the day singing and foraging for food in the forest canopy. Otherwise well camouflaged, their rapid and extraordinary loud "tehoop-tehoop-tehoop-tehoop" call often betrays their presence.

Golden-whiskered barbets are frugivores that gorge themselves on berries, figs, and any edible fruits they can find. A bird watcher colorfully described the golden-whiskered barbet eating papayas in a private fruit orchard by writing:

What a glutton he was to possessively grab a chunk of the succulent fruit with his left claw; clung on the tree trunk with his right footed zygodactylous toes and demolishing another chunk of fleshy papaya breakfast in his honky beak...too engrossed in protecting his treasure trove of ripe and succulent papayas –spoilt for choice to take much notice of me...Having had his fill, the barbet did not fly away but stayed around the tree to engage in sentry duties under shade of a spoke like foliage...Occasionally, he would return for a symbolic peck and indulgence of the fruits. At other times, would fly to his shady, staging area for a quick snooze as expressed by his nictitating membrane, at the same time trying hard to possessively stay awake to watch his fruits...(he was also) seen to hastily chase off his mate. No other fruit eating species of smaller birds present around dared or were allowed to perch on the same tree...

According to the same report, the golden-whiskered barbet is selective in its choice of fruits upon which to feed and did not bother to peck on intact ripening fruits when there were better fresh choices to be had. Also partially insectivorous, the golden-whiskered barbet eats flying termites and has been observed digging into dead wood searching for food. It also feeds on seeds and even lizards and small birds like the Eurasian tree sparrow.


Breeding season for the golden-whiskered barbet is from February to August. Their rounded, white eggs are laid two per clutch.


The golden-whiskered barbet is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Borneo and Sumatra.


Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. They are found in lowland foothills and tall second growth forests but are rare in evergreen forests and swamp forests. The golden-whiskered barbet can also found be found on cocoa plantations.

Other names

In Mandarin Chinese it is known as 金须拟䴕 (jīnxū nǐliè) "golden-whiskered false woodpecker" or 金颊拟啄木鸟 (jīn jiá nǐ-zhuómù-niǎo) or as "gold-cheeked false woodpecker". Its Japanese name is キホオゴシキドリ or 黄頬五色鳥 (kihō goshikidori), "yellow-cheeked five-coloured bird." Bucco chrysopogon is a pseudonym.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Psilopogon chrysopogon

Common names

  • Thai: นกโพระดกเคราเหลือง, nok phoradok khrao leuang


  • Megalaima chrysopogon chrysopogon, Coenraad Jacob Temminck, 1824

  • Megalaima chrysopogon chrysopsis, Goffin, 1863

  • Megalaima chrysopogon laeta, Herbert Christopher Robinson & Cecil Boden Kloss, 1918

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Golden-whiskered barbet (megalaima chrysopogon)

Golden-whiskered barbet (megalaima chrysopogon)

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Distribution map of Gold-whiskered barbet, Psilopogon chrysopogon in Thailand

Range map of Psilopogon chrysopogon in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook.