The tawny-bellied babbler (Dumetia hyperythra) also known in older Indian works as the rufous-bellied babbler is a small babbler that forages in small groups in low scrub forests. Like other members of the large Old World babbler family they are passerine birds characterised by soft fluffy plumage. There are three subspecies within the Indian Subcontinent. The nominate hyperythra found in northern and eastern India is uniformly brown underneath while albogularis of the western Indian peninsula is white throated. The population in Sri Lanka, phillipsi, is also white throated but is paler underneath and has a larger bill.
The tawny-bellied babbler is a small babbler at 13 cm including its long round-tipped tail. The outer tail feathers are about half the length of the central tail feather. It is dark brown above and orange-buff below, with a rufous grey crown. The feathers on the forehead are stiff and the tail has cross rays and is otherwise olive brown. The throat is white in adults of the populations of peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan population, however, has a larger and heavier beak and paler underparts.
The population on Mt. Abu is white-throated with chestnut feathers on the crown (appearing capped, as opposed to the chestnut being only on the forehead) having pale shafts. It has been proposed as a subspecies abuensis but is more often included in albogularis. Another variant form first described from Khandala Ghats as navarroi is also usually included within the range of albogularis.