The Fire-tufted Barbet (Psilopogon pyrolophus) is a species of barbet found in montane areas in Malaysia, Indonesia and southern Thailand. It is a rather unusual Asian barbet that it has its own genus, and have a proportionally longer tail than the rest. Its name is derived from the prominent red tuft of bristles extending over the base of the bill.
Of course, I knew none of these information when I made my maiden birding trip out of Singapore to Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia back in March 2011. The plan was to go have a family vacation and try to take some bird photos, whatever species they may be.
On the first evening, I explored the area around my hotel. As luck would have it, intermittent rain made me turn back to the hotel. While waiting for it to clear, I saw this green bird perched rather low on an evergreen tree. Without alarming it, I made my way closer. I had a long lens and had to back out to get the bird barely in frame, with the tripod touching the wall of the hotel.
A crop shot showing the colourful head, and the red bristles that define its name. Some have mentioned that the more prominent maroon tinge on the crown defines the male1, but I cannot ascertain this.
This was my one and only encounter with this beautiful bird. Although I have a few more photos of the bird in different poses and perches, the above seems to be the most pleasing.
I hope one day to be back and get yet another closer view and better understanding of this species. Too little is currently known about it.