Scientific Name: Turdoides caudata
Name: Common Babbler
Dull brown above, profusely streaked; brown wings; olivish-brown tail long and graduated, crossrayed darker; dull white throat; pale fulvous underbody, streaked on breast sides. Pairs or small bands in open scrub; skulker, working its way low in bush or on ground; moves with peculiar bouncing hop on the ground, the long, loose-looking tail cocked up; extremely wary, vanishing into scrub at slightest alarm; weak flight, evident when flock moves from one scrub patch to another, in ones and twos.
Size in cm:
Size in Inch
gray (Bird may have more colors)
insects, flower nectar, berries
Habit and habited:
thorn scrub, open cultivation, grass.
A series of pleasant, rapid fluty whistles, and a louder, more drawn-out pieuu-u-u-pie-u-u-pi-e-u-u.
The common babbler (Argya caudata) is a member of the Leiothrichidae family. They are found in dry open scrub country mainly in India. Two populations are recognized as subspecies and the populations to the west of the Indus river system are now usually treated as a separate species, the Afghan babbler (Turdoides huttoni). The species is distinctly long-tailed, slim with an overall brown or greyish colour, streaked on the upper plumage and having a distinctive whitish throat.
This small, slim babbler with a long tail is buff to grey above with dark streaks. The underside is unstreaked and paler, the throat being nearly whitish.
The species was originally described as Crateropus caudatus before it was moved to the genus Argya and still later to Turdoides. The species ending was however retained in these new combinations but the corrected feminine form caudata matches the Latin gender of the genus Turdoides.
The common babbler group includes eclipes (Hume, 1877) from northern Pakistan to northwestern India and nominate caudata ( Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1823) in southern Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India (including the Lakshadweep Islands).
Like most other babblers, the common babbler is found in small parties of six to twenty. They are vociferous, moving on the ground often with members keeping watch from the tops of bushes. They forage through the undergrowth hopping on the ground and creeping like rodents. When moving on the ground, they often keep the long tail raised. The calls include a rapid trill which-which-whichi-ri-ri-ri-ri while the alarm consists of a high pitched squeak. They are found mainly in dry regions with sparse and low thorny scrub vegetation. They feed on insects, berries and grains. Favourite berries include those of the Lantana and Capparis.