This is the only barbet in Taiwan and is an endemic bird, previously considered conspecific with Black-browed Barbet Megalaima oorti. We saw this bird right through our trip at a variety of setting in the southern urban lowlands and north-central mountains (images posted here from different locations). The local name for the bird is the ‘five-coloured bird’ referring to the five plumage colours; the generally green plumage; the red loral spot, lower breast-band and also on mantle; the blue breast-band, cheek and upper forehead; the yellow chin and lower forehead; the black eyebrow lines. Of these the red on the mantle is the hardest to appreciate.
We often saw the bird at fruiting trees. On the diet, the Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive states that “little known, with most data coming from study of food brought to nestlings ..” We saw it consume predominantly fruit from a wide range of trees; fruiting ficus, palm fruits and many of the fruiting berry trees. At times it will chase away other birds as well as other barbets from fruits sources. Unfortunately, I am not conversant enough to identify the many trees we saw.
Taxonomic Notes :
Monotypic species endemic to Taiwan.
Formerly considered conspecific with Black-browed Barbet Megalaima oorti but now elevated to full species status following Collar, N.J. (2006) A taxonomic reappraisal of the Black-browed Barbet Megalaima oorti. Forktail 22:170-173.