The Indian Scimitar-babbler, Pomatorhinus horsfieldii, is an Old World babbler. The Old World babblers are a large family of passerine birds characterised by soft fluffy plumage. They are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in southeast Asia.
The Indian Scimitar-babbler is a resident breeding bird in India and Sri Lanka. Its habitat is forest and secondary growth. This species, like most babblers, is not migratory, and has short rounded wings and a weak flight.
This scimitar-babbler builds its nest in a bush or on the ground, concealed in dense masses of foliage. The normal clutch is two or three eggs.
The Indian Scimitar-babbler measures 22cm including its long tail. It is dark brown above and white below. It has a striking head pattern, with a white supercilum above a broad black band through the eye. The nominate Indian race has grey or blackish flanks and breast sides, but the Sri Lankan subspecies, P. h. melanurus, has these areas olive or concolorous with its upperparts.
Indian Scimitar-babblers have long downcurved yellow bills, used to work through the leaf litter in search of their food which is mainly insects and berries. They can be difficult to observe in the dense vegetation they prefer, but like other babblers, these are noisy birds, and the characteristic bubbling calls are often the best indication that these birds are present. The call itself consists of a loud Ho Po Po followed sometimes by a tuck-troo. The second note is produced by the female and the duet is very accurately synchronized.
Call of Indian Scimitar-babbler recorded at Wayanad, April 2006
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