Asian barbet

The Asian barbets are a family of bird species, the Megalaimidae, comprising two genera with 30 species native to the forests of the Indomalayan realm from Tibet to Indonesia. They were once clubbed with all barbets in the family Capitonidae but the Old World species have been found to be distinctive and are considered, along with the Lybiidae and Ramphastidae, as sister groups. In the past the species were placed in three genera, Caloramphus, Megalaima and Psilopogon,[1] but studies show that Psilopogon to be nested within the clade of Megalaima. Since members of this clade are better treated under a single genus, they have been moved to the genus Psilopogon which was described and erected earlier than Megalaima and is therefore chosen on the basis of taxonomic priority principles. Nearly all members of the family are now in the genus Psilopogon, with the exception of the Caloramphus which is thought to have genetically diverged from the common ancestor around 21.32 million years ago. The latter species is distinct enough to warrant placement in a distinct subfamily Caloramphinae.[2][3] The family name is derived from that of the genus Megalaima which means ‘large throat’, from the Greek mega (μέγας, ‘large, great’) and laimos (λαιμός, ‘throat’).[4]

Asian barbets
Temporal range: Pleistocene to Recent
Fire tufted barbet.jpg
Fire-tufted barbet
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Infraorder: Ramphastides
Family: Megalaimidae
Blyth, 1852



Great barbet
Lineated barbet
Red-throated barbet

Subfamily Megalaiminae

Subfamily Caloramphinae


  1. ^ Short, L. L.; Horne, J.F.M. (2004). "Family Capitonidae (barbets)". In del Hoyo J.; Elliott A.; Christie D. A. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 7. Jamacars to Woodpeckers. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334375.
  2. ^ Ericson, P. G. P. (2012). "Evolution of terrestrial birds in three continents: biogeography and parallel radiations". Journal of Biogeography. 39 (5): 813–824. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02650.x.
  3. ^ den Tex, R.-J.; Leonard, J. A. (2013). "A molecular phylogeny of Asian barbets: Speciation and extinction in the tropics". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 68 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.03.004. PMID 23511217.
  4. ^ David, N. (2008). "Megalaiminae: the correct subfamily-group name for the Asian barbets". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 128 (1): 72.