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A photo of a Common Babbler (Argya caudata)
Common Babbler

Common Babbler

Argya caudata

The common babbler, Argya caudata, is a slim, long-tailed bird with a predominantly brown or greyish plumage, streaked on the upper parts. Its throat is a distinctive whitish color, providing a striking contrast to the rest of its body.

Identification Tips

This species can be identified by its buff to grey upper parts with dark streaks and a paler, unstreaked underside. The throat is nearly whitish, and the bird maintains a long tail, often held raised when on the ground.

Habitat

The common babbler favors dry regions, thriving in sparse and low thorny scrub vegetation, which provides both food and nesting opportunities.

Distribution

The common babbler is primarily found in India, with its range extending to southern Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Lakshadweep Islands. Two subspecies are recognized, with the western population near the Indus river system classified as a separate species, the Afghan babbler.

Behaviour

Common babblers are social birds, moving in small parties of six to twenty. They are known for their vocal nature and ground foraging behavior, often with some members keeping watch from elevated positions. They exhibit cooperative breeding, with multiple breeding pairs within a group and helpers that may assist in feeding and caring for the young.

Song & Calls

The common babbler's vocal repertoire includes a rapid trill of "which-which-whichi-ri-ri-ri-ri" and a high-pitched squeak as an alarm call.

Breeding

Breeding occurs during the summer months, with nests built low in thorny bushes. They lay 2-3 turquoise blue eggs, which hatch after about 13-15 days. The species may experience brood parasitism by cuckoos.

Similar Species

The common babbler may be confused with other babbler species, but its distinctive whitish throat and long tail are key differentiators.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet consists of insects, berries, and grains, with a preference for berries from Lantana and Capparis plants.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the common babbler as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats to its survival.

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Common Babblers on Birda

Sightings
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Profile picture for Naman Doshi
Naman Doshi
16 Jun 2024 - 3:18am
India

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