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Hartlaub's Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Angola Babbbler; Southern White-rumped Babbler; White-rumped Babbler

Subspecies griseosquamata
Photo © by Dave Clark
Okavanga Delta, Botswana, September 2010
Turdoides hartlaubii


Subspecies griseosquamata
Photo © by charelli
Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana, May 2018

23 - 24cm (9-9½ in). A medium-sized Turdoides-babbler.

  • Brownish-grey plumage
  • Pale scaling on head to mantle and throat
  • White rump
  • Short stout black bill
  • Orange-red to crimson eye, often with yellow inner ring


Griseosquamata is paler than the nominate.


Africa: Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
Common or even abundant in parts of its range.


May form a superspecies with White-rumped Babbler.


Two subspecies usually accepted[1]:

The described subspecies ater is considered to be a synonym for the nominate subspecies.


Dense scrub between woodlands, gallery woodland, riverine-forest edge, marshy valleys with bushes and tall grass, sometimes reedbeds or papyrus swamp.



Feeds mainly on invertebrates, foraging mainly on the ground.
Usually seen in pairs or in noisy groups of 5 - 15 birds. Often in mixed flocks with Arrow-marked Babbler.


Breeding season from July to October in Angola, March in Tanzania, April to May and October to February in Zambia. Co-operative breeder with a permanent territory. The nest is an untidy bowl made of grasses, dry leaves and thin roots. It's placed about 3m high in a bush, a low tree or among dense tufts of reeds and sedges. Lays 2 - 4 eggs.

Often parasitised by Levaillant's Cuckoo.


Resident species with some rain-related movements.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. 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

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