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Indian Scimitar Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Nominate subspecies
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Amboli, Western Ghat, Alt. 2260 ft., Dist. Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, India, February-2019
Pomatorhinus horsfieldii


Subspecies P. h. travancoreensis
Photo © by atanumondal
Pazhathottam, India, September 2009

22cm (8¾ in) A smallish Scimitar-Babbler

  • Dark eye
  • Long yellow bill
  • Prominent white supercilium
  • Black face, white throat and breast
  • Cold greyish-brown upperparts / in nominate race, upper­parts and upperwing dark olive
  • Grey to blackish side of neck, flanks and vent

Sexes similar.

Confusion species

White-browed Scimitar-Babbler has a yellow eye and no blackish flanks.


Endemic to India.
Locally common.



Courtship Behaviour : male (below) gave food to female
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Amboli, Western Ghat, Alt. 2260 ft., Dist. Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, India, February-2019

Four subspecies recognized[1]:

  • P. h. obscurus in west India
  • P. h. horsfieldii from southeast Gujarat south to Goa and east to Andhra Pradesh
  • P. h. travancoreensis from Goa south to Kerala and Tamil Nadu
  • P. h. maderaspatensis in southern Andhra Pradesh and northern Tamil Nadu

Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler has been regarded conspecific. Both species are sometimes considered conspecific withWhite-browed Scimitar Babbler.


Decidous to evergreen forest, cardamon sholas, bamboo, tick cover. Locally up to 2400m.



Feeds on insects, grubs and spiders. Takes also flower nectar and berries.
Seen in pairs during breeding season, in small groups the rest of the year. Often together with other species. Forages on the ground or in dense undergrowth.


Breeding season from October to June in India. The nest is a loose, large domr with an entrance on the upper side. It's placed in a bush or on the ground, concealed in dense masses of foliage. Lays 2 to 5 eggs.


Resident species.


  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. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  4. Descriptive notes

Recommended Citation

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