Birding South-east China

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The Chinese races of Black-browed Barbet have recently been formally proposed to be split from the nominate though the subject has been under discussion for at least a decade before that.



Megalaima faber comprises two races, M. f. sini, which occurs on the mainland and M.f. faber, which is restricted to Hainan. Sini is distinguished as follows Following Collar the plumage colour matrix for the two races of M. faber is as follows:
  M.f. faber M. f. sini
Forehead Black* Black*
Forecrown Black Broad black
Hind crown Broad red square; black and blue sides –small Broad red square; black and blue sides –small
Red loral spot Small Small
Sub-ocular cheek/moustache Black/black Black/black
Ear coverts and lower malar Violet-blue Blue
Throat and upper malar Pale orange ochre (mustard yellow) Pale orange ochre (mustard yellow)
Upper breast band Violet-blue, blackish-blue centre Violet-blue, blackish-blue centre
Lower breast band Broad red block Broad red block



Not available.


Historical Background

What is interesting and surprising is that the Barbet was so little known from the south-east China until very recently since the species is very prominent where it occurs. Swinhoe, Vaughan and Jones and Kershaw did not include it in their accounts of the birds of south-east China. La Touche made reference to Streseman who recorded the species in Guangxi. Cheng? (expand)


Current Distribution

M. f. sini is widely distributed in south-east China except in north and east of the region. There are recent records from the following sites: Guangxi: Cen Wang Lao Shan, Da Ming Shan, Da Wang Ling, Da Yao Shan, Di Ding, Gu Po Shan, Hua Ping, Mao Er Shan, Mu Lun, Nong Gang, Nong Hua, Shi Wan Da Shan. (12)
Guangdong: Ba Bao Shan, Chebaling, Da Chou Ding, Dinghu Shan, Guan Yin Shan, Hei Shi Ding. (6)
Hunan: Qianjiadong (1)
Jiangxi: Julianshan (1)
Guizhou: Kuankuoshui (1). The distribution of the taxon appears to range across from west Guangxi (Cen Wang Lao Shan) southwards along the Vietnamese border (Di Ding, Nong Gang, Shiwandashan). The Guizhou record is from Suiyang county in the north (add map) In Guangdong it is found in the west, central and north areas but no further west than Guan Yin Shan). It has not been recorded at Nan Kun Shan or at any sites further east. It is found at Julianshan in Jiangxi, Qianjiadong in Hunan and apparently also from Kuankuoshi in Guizhou. M. f. faber occurs on Hainan at the following sites: Bai Shui Ling, Jianfengling, Jian Ling, Wu Zhi Shan, Ying Ge Ling. (5) There do not appear to be any records from Ba Wang Ling. There are no records from Tonkin in Vietnam so currently this taxon should be considered a Chinese endemic. However, given that there are records from sites adjacent to the border its occurrence in Tonkin should be expected.



It seems possible that Chinese Barbet has extended its range eastwards since 1900 as far as central Guangdong. The first known record from Dinghu Shan was as recently as 1991. It also appears to have been first recorded at Ba Bao Shan in the early 1990s.



Collar, N. J. (2006) A taxonomic reappraisal of the Black-browed Barbet Megalaima oorti. Forktail 22: 170-173
Lewthwaite, R., Forest Birds of Southeast China: Observations during 1984-96. Hong Kong Bird Report 1995: 150-203