White-mantled barbet -- 白背须䴕 (Capito hypoleucus)

White-mantled barbet, ventral view
Loading more images and videos...

White-mantled barbet fact file

White-mantled barbet description

GenusCapito (1)

The white-mantled barbet (Capito hypoleucus) is a stocky bird, named after the white cape of plumage extending from its distinctive scarlet forehead and down its back (3) (4).

The white-mantled barbet has a black and white hind crown and mantle. Its upperparts and the side of its head are black and it has a white throat and chest. The underparts of this species are yellowish-white and it has a light brown band across the breast. The white-mantled barbet has a thick, pale yellow beak with a bluish-black tip (3).

The male and female white-mantled barbet are similar in appearance, although the female can be distinguished from the male by a black spot at the corner of the beak (5).

The call of the white-mantled barbet has been described as a deep croak, and the song consists of short, single notes (2) (5).

There are three subspecies of white-mantled barbet, which all differ slightly in plumage and distribution: Capito hypoleucus hypoleucus, Capito hypoleucus carrikeri and Capito hypoleucus extinctus (6).


White-mantled barbet biology

Little is known about the breeding habits of the white-mantled barbet. However, evidence of breeding has been observed between May and September (6).

Most species of barbet show little courtship behaviour. Barbets usually nest in excavated holes in trees, termite mounds and sand banks without any nest material. Typically, two to five eggs are laid, and both the male and female incubate and rear the young (7).

The white-mantled barbet feeds on fruit, seeds and insects, and will move in response to food abundance (3).


White-mantled barbet range

The white-mantled barbet is endemic to Colombia, South America, in the Central Andes and western slopes of the East Andes (3).


White-mantled barbet habitat

The white-mantled barbet can be found in primary, secondary and heavily disturbed montane forests. This species can also be found in cultivated areas, but the preferred habitat of the white-mantled barbet is moist, primary forests above elevations of 1,000 metres (3).


White-mantled barbet status

The white-mantled barbet is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


White-mantled barbet threats

Although the white-mantled barbet is fairly common locally, its distribution is narrow and fragmented (3). The historic range of the white-mantled barbet has declined by more than half since the 19th century as a result of heavy deforestation in the Colombian foothills (6) (8). Habitat loss is still occurring very rapidly in parts of the white-mantled barbet’s range, with vast areas of forest cleared for livestock and arable farming, coca plantations, oil extraction, mining and road building (3).


White-mantled barbet conservation

A number of protected areas fall within the white-mantled barbet’s range. The Río Claro nature reserve in Antioquia encourages ecotourism, but the conservation impacts are unknown. Part of the northern Central and West Andes is considered a very important area for many species of endemic Colombian birds, including the white-mantled barbet, but only very small areas are protected (9).

Proposed conservation measures include surveying and protecting forests within the white-mantled barbet’s range (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

More information on the white-mantled barbet:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

This species information was authored as part of the Arkive and Universities Scheme.


A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
To keep eggs warm so that development is possible.
In birds, the wings, shoulder feathers and back, when coloured differently from the rest of the body.
Montane forest
Forest occurring in the montane zone, a zone of cool upland slopes below the tree line.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary forest
Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2012)
  2. Hilty, S.L. and Brown, B. (1986) A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  3. BirdLife International - White-mantled barbet (December, 2011)
  4. Salvin, O. (1897) Descriptions of five species of South American birds. Bulletin of the British Ornithological Club, 7: 15-17.
  5. Short, L.L. and Horne, J.F.M. (2001) Toucans, Barbets and Honeyguides. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  6. Graves, G.R. (1986) Geographic variation in the white-mantled barbet (Capito hypoleucus) of Colombia (Aves: Capitonidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 99(1): 61-64.
  7. Campbell, B. and Lack, E. (2011) A Dictionary of Birds. A&C Black, London.
  8. Hilty, S.L. (1985) Distributional changes in the Colombian avifauna: A preliminary blue list. Neotropical Ornithology, 36: 1000-1012.
  9. BirdLife International - Endemic Bird Area factsheet: Nechi lowlands (July, 2012) 

Image credit

White-mantled barbet, ventral view  
White-mantled barbet, ventral view

© Nick Athanas / Tropical Birding

Nick Athanas


Link to this photo

Arkive species - White-mantled barbet (Capito hypoleucus) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top