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GALLERIES > BIRDS > SYLVIOIDEA > LEIOTHRICHIDAE > BLACK-FACED BABBLER [Turdoides melanops]


Black-faced Babbler Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Black-lored Babbler (Turdoides melanops) is a species of songbird in the Timaliidae family

As defined here, it consists of two populations with widely separated ranges, one in northwestern Botswana, northern Namibia, and Angola; the other in southwestern Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and the part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo immediately adjacent to the three last-named countries. Like other Turdoides, it is found low or on the ground in or near dense woody vegetation, including in cultivated areas.

Description

Both populations are 21 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches) long. Birds are largely grayish brown with geographically and individually variable white mottling, especially below. The population near Nanyuki, Kenya, is darker but can have a pure white chin or entire throat. The combination of pale yellow or white eyes and black lores (the areas between the eye and the bill) separates this species from similar babblers, though all juvenile babblers have brown eyes.

In southern Africa, the calls are described as "A nasal 'wha-wha-wha' and a harsh, fast 'papapapa'." In Kenya, single birds give repeated single or double harsh notes such as waaach or a muffled kurr-ack; pairs or groups give longer phrases in chorus. The tempo is frequently slow for a babbler. They are most vocal in the early morning and late afternoon.

Behavior

Southern birds forage in leaf litter and are "much more furtive than the other babblers". However, Kenyan birds forage in bushes and tall grass; they are "restless, noisy, and suspicious" and "typical gregarious babblers".

Taxonomy

The two populations are treated here as a single species following the Handbook of the Birds of the World and other authorities. Some authorities consider the northern form a separate species, Turdoides sharpei.





                                     



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