Rufous-capped Babbler

Rufous-capped Babbler  Stachyridopsis ruficeps


  • Stachyridopsis : Greek word stakhus -ear of wheat; rhis -nostrils;opsis- Appearance { reference to the shape of the opercula or scales almost closing the nostrils}
  • Ruficeps: Latin word Rufi – Red, Rufous; Ceps- Head

Vernacular names: Lepcha: Syak-birang-pho

Distribution in India: Resident of Eastern Himalayas and hills of North East India.

Description: Size of 12 cm; Wt. of 7–12 g. It is a small, sharp-billed, pale olive and yellowish-buff babbler with rufous crown. The nominate race has bright rufous crown and nape, upperparts and neck side are slightly greyish-olive, upperwing and tail are a shade browner; face ,lores, supercilium, ear-coverts are paler olive. It is yellowish-buff below; chin and throat are with fine dark shaft streaks. The lower belly, flanks and vent are buffy olive-brown; iris is red or crimson, sometimes tinged rufous; bill is blackish or brownish, lower mandible is somewhat paler; legs are greenish-brown to yellowish-grey. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile is rather less olive above than adult, crown is paler, faint rufous edges on wing feathers.

Habitat: It is found in broadleaf evergreen forest, bamboo stands, thick secondary bush growth in clearings. It is found from 600–3200 m.

Food habits:  It eats insects and berries. It is found in pairs during breeding season, otherwise in small foraging parties, often in mixed company with other species, including babblers and Fulvetta. It forages in lower and middle storeys.

Breeding habits: They breed in Apr–Jul in India. The nest is a deep cup or neat or loose uneven ball, oval or cone, entrance at side, often towards top, made of dry or living bamboo or other leaves, leaf skeletons, fine grasses, roots, bark, moss and fibres. The nest is plastered with cobweb; lined with very fine grasses, rootlets and leaves; placed in low bush, clump of bamboo or long overhanging grass or among thick tangled vegetation. The nest is placed above ground or sometimes on ground. They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs. The nest is brood parasitized by Lesser Cuckoo.