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Common Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Ventral view : Ssp. caudata
Photo © by Rakesh
Diwe Ghat, Pune India, February 2007

Alternative name: Scrub Babbler

Argya caudata

Turdoides caudata


20-26 cm (7¾-10¼ in)

  • Very long-tailed Babbler
  • Slender, slightly down-curved bill
  • Dark eyes
  • Strong dark streaks on pale buff to grey upperparts
  • Unmarked pale underparts

Confusion species

Spiny Babbler in Nepal is darker above and paler below. Striated Babbler in northern India and Pakistan has a dark throat.


Dorsal view : Ssp. caudata
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Sultanpur, Gurgaon, Haryana, India, August 2015

Found in South Asia: From southern Pakistan to India, Nepal and Bangladesh.


This species is also sometimes placed in genus Turdoides.


Two subspecies accepted[3]:

Afghan Babbler was formerly considered conspecific.


Dry open scrubland, semi-deserts, thorn-scrub, sandy floodplains and rocky hills.



Feeds mainly on insects but takes also grains, berries and nectar. Forages in noisy groups of 6 - 7 birds (called Seven Sisters in India, a name which is also used for Yellow-billed Babbler) but groups can be bigger.


Breeding season all year. May breed several times a year. Co-operative breeder with complex family structures. The nest is a neat, deep cup, made of grasses and placed in a bush or a small tree. Lays 3 - 5 eggs.


Listen in an external program Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, India, June-2017
Long call by two individuals, calling after daybreak. Very brief calls by Indian Peafowl, Plain Prinia and Red-wattled Lapwing.

Listen in an external program Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, India, July-2015
Single call / song by one individual in peak summer-monsoon month, early morning time.


  1. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  2. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672
  3. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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