Common babbler

Common babbler
Turdoides caudatus
Photo by Rajiv Lather (Birding in India and South Asia)

Common name:
common babbler (en); zaragateiro-de-cauda-comprida (pt); cratérope indien (fr); turdoide indio (es); langschwanzdrossling (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

This Asian species is found from Iraq, Kuwait and Iran, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, across India and into Nepal.

These birds are 23 cm long and weigh 30-40 g.

The common babbler is mostly found in arid and semi-arid areas, often using Tamarix and other dry scrublands, dry grasslands, rocky areas and also orchards, rural gardens and other plantations. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.100 m.

They mostly forage on the ground, eating insects and other small invertebrates.

Common babblers can breed all year round, but with a peak in March-September. They live in small social groups of 6-11 birds, in which only 1, or sometimes 2 pairs breed, while the other individuals help feeding the chicks and defending against predators. The breeding pair builds the nest, a deep, compact cup, neatly made using grass roots and stems. The nest is placed in a small thorny bush, 0,5-2,5 m above the ground. The female lays 2-5 pale blue eggs, which are incubated for 13-16 days. The chicks fledge 13-18 days after hatching. They raise 2-3 broods per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be fairly common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any current declines or substantial threats.

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