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A photo of a Dark-fronted Babbler (Dumetia atriceps)
Dark-fronted Babbler

Dark-fronted Babbler

Dumetia atriceps

The dark-fronted babbler (Dumetia atriceps) is an Old World babbler found in the Western Ghats of India and the forests of Sri Lanka. They are small chestnut brown birds with a dark black cap, a whitish underside and pale yellow iris. They forage in flocks in the undergrowth of forests constantly making calls and uttering alarm calls when disturbed.

The dark-fronted babbler measures 13 cm including its square-tipped tail. It is brown above and white below. The two subspecies in the Western Ghats have black hoods, but the two Sri Lankan races have this reduced to a dark bandit mask. The pale yellow iris stands in contrast. The subspecies in the southern Western Ghats bourdilloni has a duller sooty-black hood, browner underside and the upper parts are more olive. The nominate form found north of the Palghat Gap has the hood dark black. In Sri Lanka, the subspecies siccata is found in the lower elevation while nigrifrons is found in the wet zone. The former has more olive on the upperparts while the later is rufescent on the upperparts.

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Dark-fronted Babblers on Birda

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Profile picture for Andrew Goodall
Andrew Goodall
22 Jan 2024 - 10:53am
Sri Lanka

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