Have you ever had a friend in school who looked a lot like you? So much so that your teachers would get you confused? Or maybe you have a sibling that looks eerily similar to you (even though you aren’t twins – because if you are twins then tough luck) and all of your friends have a hard time identifying you both?
Well welcome to the world of the Red and Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus) who is constantly mistaken for a woodpecker. Not that you can really blame everyone, for that strong red bill is long, thick, and pointed – just like a woodpecker’s. The spotted pattern and flush of red also make it seem a bit woodpecker-esque.
Unlike a woodpecker, though, these birds aren’t interested in poking at trees. They mainly deal with termite mounds for food, as well as for a nesting site. The birds will tunnel about 40 cm into one of the mounds where they will then make a small chamber which they fill with grass and several Barbet feathers.
Once the chickies are born, those little whipper snappers are quite hungry. Mom and Pop will smash larger insects such as centipedes or grasshoppers and will remove the legs and wings before feeding them to the young… just like mushing up your baby’s peas right?!