The Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus pusillus formerly known as Red-fronted Tinker Barbet is a small African barbet. Barbets are near passerine birds bristles around the base of the bill. They have a world-wide tropical distribution.
The Red-fronted Tinkerbird is a widespread and frequently common resident breeder in eastern South Africa, with a separate population from southern Sudan and Ethiopia south to central and eastern Tanzania. It is sometimes considered conspecific with its northern counterpart, the Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Pogoniulus chrysoconus.
The Red-fronted Tinkerbird is associated with juniper forest and scrub. It nests in a tree hole, and lays two or three eggs. It eats berries and fruit, particularly mistletoe, but also takes insects as it forages in deep cover.
The Red-fronted Tinkerbird is 9-10.5 cm in length. It is a plump bird, with a short neck, large head, and short tail. The adult has black upperparts heavlly streaked with yellow and white, and a golden wing patch. Its head has a strong black and white pattern, with a red forecrown spot. Its underparts and rump are lemon yellow. Sexes are similar in appearance, but young birds lack the red forehead.
This species is distinguished from Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird by the colour of the forehead spot, the golden wing patch, and its overall darker appearance.
It is often confused with the Red-fronted Barbet but it is significantly smaller than that species, has a black moustache and a less robust bill, and lacks a broad yellow superciliary stripe.
At about 100 repetitions per minute, the Red -fronted Tinkerbird's call is a fast tink-tink-tink-tink, very similar to that of Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird . Many barbets perch prominently, but, unlike their larger relatives, the smaller tinkerbirds sing from cover and are more frequently heard than seen.