Red-faced Barbet Lybius rubrifacies


Justification of Red List category
This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is thought to have a moderately small population which is suspected to have undergone a decline in the 1990s at least. If the population is found to be smaller, or declining faster, it may qualify for uplisting to a higher threat category.

Population justification
The total population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as locally common.

Trend justification
The populations is suspected to have been declining since the mid 1990s owing to ongoing habitat destruction (Kanyamibwa 2001, Short et al. 1990).

Distribution and population

Lybius rubrifacies is restricted to eastern Rwanda and Burundi, and north-west Tanzania, with a single locality (Lake Mburo National Park) in south-west Uganda (N. Baker in litt. 1999). Although the species is locally common in Rwanda (N. Baker in litt. 1999) (in Akagera NP the population has been estimated at >1,100 individuals [K. Wallin in litt. 2016]), it has a restricted distribution and is presumed to have suffered a population decline since the mid-1990s (Kanyamibwa 2001, Short et al. 1990).


It occurs in hilly areas of Combretum-wooded grassland, mixed woodland of Albizia-Acacia-Commiphora (including riverine woods) and also cultivated areas with scattered trees (Fry et al. 1988), generally at altitudes of 1,200-1,500 m (N. Baker in litt. 1999). It occurs in pairs and groups of up to five or more, feeding on figs, berries and seeds as well as insects (N. Baker in litt. 1999). Breeding is thought to take place in February-March and October (del Hoyo et al. 2002).


A population decline is suspected since the mid-1990s as a result of habitat loss after the degazettement of about two-thirds of Akagera National Park (from 2,850 km2 to 1,000 km2; Kanyamibwa 2001, Short et al. 1990), due to the arrival of settlers displaced by civil war (del Hoyo et al. 2002). In Tanzania, habitat for this species is not currently under threat, but it occurs at very low densities, due to unknown limiting factors (J. P. Vandeweghe pers comm.).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Lake Mburo National Park (Uganda), Akagera National Park (Rwanda) and Ruvuvu National Park (Burundi) (del Hoyo et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys throughout its range to obtain a total population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Investigate factors that are potentially responsible for the species's low densities in Tanzania (J. P. Vandeweghe pers comm.). Increase the area of suitable habitat within protected areas.


Text account compilers
Evans, M., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Baker, N., Collar, N., Vande Weghe, J. & Wallin, K.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Lybius rubrifacies. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/red-faced-barbet-lybius-rubrifacies on 24/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 24/02/2024.