Grey-throated Babbler  Stachyris nigriceps


  • Stachyris : Greek word stakhus –ear of wheat; rhis -nostrils;opsis- Appearance { reference to the shape of the opercula or scales almost closing the nostrils}
  • Nigriceps: Latin word niger- black; ceps –headed  { Black Headed}

Vernacular Name : Lepcha: Sangriam-pho, Paharia: Moostay

Distribution in India:

  1. Nominate- C & E Nepal E to NE India (to C Arunachal Pradesh)
  2. n. coei  – E Arunachal Pradesh (Mishmi Hills), in NE India
  3. n. coltarti – NE India (SE Arunachal Pradesh S to Nagaland and adjacent S Assam)
  4. n. spadix – Meghalaya and S Assam (N Cachar) E to Mizoram (NE India)

Description: It has a size of 12–15 cm; wt. of 10–18 g. It is dull brown above and buff-brown below, but with well-marked head pattern. The nominate race has blackish crown, striped with white, greyish postocular lateral crownstripe, blackish postocular supercilium, white-lined greyish postocular eyestripe, all ending at drab olive-brown upperparts and neck side. The upperwing and tail are browner; lores are streaky greyish, cheek and ear-coverts are ochre-tinged greyish. It has a black moustachial line, short white submoustachial, whitish-grey chin and upper throat, black lower throat. The underparts are dull ochrous-tan, shading duller and darker on flanks, thighs and vent. The iris is pale, reddish-brown to pale grey and pale yellow, white eyering broken at front. the bill is dark brown or horn-brown, paler lower mandible. The legs are dull greenish-yellow to pale brown. Both the sexes are similar. Race coei is darker than nominate, with blackish unstreaked throat and dark brown ear-coverts; spadix has blackish-grey unstreaked throat and mid-brown ear-coverts; coltarti is more rufescent brown on ear-coverts, neck side .

Habitat : It is found in Primary and secondary evergreen broadleaf forest, low secondary scrub and bamboo-jungle in dense forest, clearings and forest edge, undergrowth in tree plantations and old rice plantations. It is found at 150–2500 m.

Food habits: It eats insects, including beetles and locustids; some berries, seeds and nectar . In Non-breeding season found in parties of 5–20 individuals, often in association with other babblers. It forages in understorey; usually keeps close to ground in low herbage. Searches in big hanging rolled-up dead leaves and clumps of smaller dead leaves, areas of dead ferns, and dense epiphytes and climbers on tree trunks.

Breeding habits:  They  breed in Feb–Aug generally. The nest is built mostly by female. The nest is a bulky, often loose cup or dome with wide entrance at front or side often towards top, made of dry bamboo or other leaves, grasses, fibrous roots, moss, moss roots, bits of fern, and plant fibres, lined with fine moss, moss roots, fern roots, fine grasses, grass roots, finely macerated bark, and plant fibres, placed on ground, well concealed by shrub, sapling, grass, ferns or fallen debris, or hidden among stems of palms, sometimes in bamboo clump, bush or sapling. They lay a clutch of 2–5 eggs . The incubation period is 12 days. The nestlings are fed by both sexes.