Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Megalaima rafflesii (Lesson, 1839)

Species:M. rafflesii
Common Names:Red-crowned Barbet, Many-coloured Barbet
Status:Uncommon resident


Restricted to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve

Locality Map

General Biology

Inhabits forests and thickly-wooded habitats.


Predominantly frugivorous, large fruits may be mashed between the powerful mandibles before swallowing. Large seeds may be swallowed but they are later regurgitated, although small seeds are passed through the system.  

Fruits taken include figs like White-leaved Fig (Ficus grossularioides), Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina); Salam (Syzygium polyanthum); and Elaeocarpus sp. Snails (possibly Amphidromus sp.) have also been recorded taken.

Life Cycle

Breeding first recorded in Singapore in 1979, when a nest with found was found at Peirce Reservoir (Wells 1984). Nest inspection and building was recorded from January through April and July. Immatures are observed in April through June.

The nest is a hole in a rotting branch or tree. An active nest was observed around the periphery of Mandai Forest in May-June 2006 (Wee et al., 2012). The adults were feeding the chicks regularly followed by cleaning the nest. The excrements were enclosed in faecal sacs or most often they were removed in the bill of the adults.


Wang, L. K. 2011. Barbets. Pp. 235–236. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

Wee, Y. C., Y. M. Chan & M. Chan, 2012. Feeding regularity and waste disposal by a pair of Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii. BirdingAsia 17: 111-114

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