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Giant babax

Babax waddelli

Photo by Johan van’t Bosch (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
giant babax (en); zaragateiro-babaxe-gigante (pt); babaxe de Waddell (fr); babax gigante (es); riesenbabax (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae

This species is found in southern Tibet and marginally across the border into north-eastern Sikkim, India.

These birds are 31 cm long and weigh around 140 g.

The giant babax is found in moist tropical mountain forests and tropical high-altitude scrublands, particularly around stands of willow Salix sp., sea buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides and prickly oak Quercus sp., and the edges of coniferous and mixed forests, at altitudes of 2.700-4.600 m.

They feed on fruits, namely buckthorn, seeds and small insects.

Giant babaxes breed in May-July. They are cooperative breeders, with helpers assisting the breeding pair in tending the nest and the young. The nest is a rough cup, woven with thick twigs and peeled bark, and placed within a dense scrub, up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for 16-18 days. The chicks fledge 16-18 days after hatching.

IUCN status – NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a restricted breeding range and the global population is estimated at 120.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining at a moderately rapid rate, due to
deforestation and habitat degradation.

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