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Grey-throated Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Black-throated Babbler; Grey Babbler

subspecies davisoni
Photo by kctsang
Pahang, West Malaysia
Stachyris nigriceps


12 - 15cm (4¾-6 in). A non-descript babbler:

  • White streaks on blackish crown
  • Whitish supercilium, eye-ring and submoustachial stripe
  • Blackish to whitish throat (depending on subspecies)
  • Warm buff breast
  • Dull brown below

The well marked head pattern varies with the subspecies. Sexes similar.


Subspecies yunnanensis
Photo by baboon
Longzhou, Guangxi, China, October 2015

Found from central Nepal east over northeast India and Bangladesh to Burma, Thailand, southern China, Indochina, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. Generally common in most of its range.



Subspecies borneensis
Photo by Dave 2x
Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, February 2013

13 subspecies currently recognized[3]:

  • S. n. nigriceps from central Nepal over Bhutan to northeast India and adjacent Tibet.
  • S. n. coei in northeast India (Arunachal Pradesh)
  • S. n. coltarti from extreme northeast India south to Nagaland, Assam, northern Burma and south China (Yunnan)
  • S. n. spadix in northeast India (Meghalaya, south Assam, Mizoram), eastern Bangladesh, south and southeast Burma and northwest and west Thailand
  • S. n. yunnanensis from extreme eastern Burma to north Thailand, south China (Yunnan, Guangxi), Laos and north Vietnam
  • S. n. rileyi in south Laos and central and south Vietnam
  • S. n. dipora in central and peninsular Thailand
  • S. n. davisoni in peninsular Malaysia
  • S. n. tionis on Tioman Island, off Malaysia
  • S. n. larvata on Sumatra and Lingga Archipelago
  • S. n. natunensis on Natuna Island
  • S. n. hartleyi in west Borneo
  • S. n. borneensis in north Borneo

An undescribed subspecies may occur in south Borneo.


Primary and secondary evergreen broadleaf forest. Also on low secondary scrub, bamboo-jungle in dense forest, clearings, forest edge and undergrowth in tree plantations and old rice plantations. Fount at 150m to 2500m.



Feeds on insects, rarely takes some berries, seeds and nectar.
Outside breeding season often in groups of 5 to 20 birds, sometimes with other babblers. Forages in understorey, close to the ground.


Breeding season generally from February to August. The nest is a bulky cup or dome with a wide entrance at the front or at the side. It's made of dry bamboo or other leaves, grasses and other plant parts and well concealed by shrub, sapling, grass, ferns or fallen debris, up to 1.2m above the ground. Lays 2 - 5 eggs.


Resident species. Some possible movement in India recorded.


  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, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.