Puff-throated Babbler

Puff-throated Babbler  Pellorneum ruficeps


  • Pellorneum : Greek word pellos dark-coloured; orneon – bird.
  • Ruficeps: Latin word Rufi – Red, Rufous; Ceps- Head

Vernacular Names: Cachar: Dao-priti-pit, Guj: Tapakili, Ta: Saruhunni kuruvi, Te: Adavi lika jittu, Adavi jittu, Mal: Ganaraj, Mar: Thipadewala Satbhai

It is a part of the old world babbler. It is also known as spotted babbler

Distribution in India: Resident in foothills of Himalayas and North East and Peninsular India

Description: Size of 15–17 cm; wt. of 21–31 g. It is a smallish babbler, pale brown above and buffy white below, with distinctive head pattern and broad streaks on breast and flanks. The nominate race has dull rufescent crown, nape and upper mantle, indistinct buffy tips of forehead feathers, buffy-whitish supercilium from bill base over buff-brown ear-coverts. The upperparts are warm-tinged pale greyish-brown, upperwing and tail are browner with greyish-brown fringes; chin to lower belly are buffy whitish, breast with prominent, broad pale grey-brown streaks that become broader and more suffused on flanks, vent is lightly tinged buff with broad pale grey-brown centers. The iris is orange-brown to deep crimson; upper mandible is greyish-brown, lower mandible is fleshy yellow; legs are yellowish-flesh or brownish-flesh. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile is paler than adult, with less contrast between crown and back, underparts are dull white, washed with dull ashy ochre on sides, no lanceolate spots, undertail-coverts are dull ashy ochre. Race olivaceum( South West India) is larger than nominate, upperparts are darker, crown is dull chestnut, dark tips on forehead, border of ear-coverts are darker, streaks on underparts are heavier, darker and more oval, generally whiter below; pallidum ( South East India) is strikingly paler above; punctatum ( Jammu and Kashmir to Uttarakhand) has greyish cast to forehead, and a hindcollar of streaked pale-edged darker feathers, underparts are buffier; mandellii ( North east india , Central Arunachalpradesh) has wing and wing-coverts as nominate, crown is darker and more chestnut than nominate, hindcollar much more boldly patterned, buffier below; chamelum (NE Indian states South of Brahmaputra except Manipur ) is paler and greyer above, streaks on underparts a little broader; pectorale (E Arunachal Pradesh) ) has crown and nape darker, breast streaks are more numerous and forming sharply demarcated gorget, streaks below broader overall, underparts a little richer buff; ripleyi ( East Assam) has richer-toned crown, more rufescent upperparts, richer buff wash below; vocale ( Manipur Valley)has a crown more chestnut, darker above.

Habitat: Inhabits floor and understorey of deciduous or broadleaf evergreen forest, teak forest

Food Habits: It feeds mainly on Insects, including cockroaches. Found in pairs or small parties. It forages on ground, rummaging among and turning over dead leaves.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Mar–Aug; multi-brooded. Nest is a large, flimsy ball or dome, with entrance at side, or a semi-dome or cup, sheltered by thick undergrowth. The nest is made of dead bamboo or other leaves, grasses, moss, plant fibers and dead twigs, lined, often scantily, with fine grasses, fine stems of maidenhair fern, moss roots, fine roots, fibers and leaf stalks, placed on ground among dead leaves, at foot of bush or clump of grass or sheltered by stone. They lay a clutch of 2–5 eggs. The nestling period is 12–13 days.