Yellow-billed Babbler

Yellow-billed Babbler  Turdoides affinis


  • Turdoides: Latin word turdus- thrush; Greek word oides –resembling { Resembling Thrush}
  • Affinis : Latin word that indicates relationship or similarity

Vernacular Names: Ta: Thavittu-kuruvi, Pandri-kuruvi, Velaikkara-kuruvi, Kalani-kuruvi, Pooniyal kuruvi, Te: Chinda sida, Chinna sida, Mal: Kariyilakili, Sinh: Demalichcha, Mar: Pandhrya Dokyacha Satbhai

They belong to the family of old world Babblers and also known as white-headed babbler

Distribution in India: Resident of Peninsular India

Description:  Size of 23 cm; wt. of 63 g. It is a very pale-headed medium-sized Turdoides babbler with yellow bill and legs, scaly breast pattern, grey wing panel and pale-based dark-ended tail. The nominate race has crown, lores, area around eye and superciliary area as greyish-cream, shading across nape to pale grey mantle and neck side. The back and scapulars are streaky brownish-grey, rump is plain pale brownish-grey; upperwing is dull greyish-brown with pale grey fringes of flight-feathers. The tail is pale grey-brown basally, dark brown with narrow barring distally. The ear-coverts are plain pale grey-brown with buff-tan tinge. The chin, submoustachial area, throat and breast are dull brown with broad pale grey scaling, long whitish shaft streaks appearing on lower breast and continuing onto plain buffy-grey upper belly and flanks, remaining underparts are pale buff-grey. The iris is creamy or greyish-white to pale blue; bill and legs are pale yellow. Both the sexes are similar. The juvenile has less distinct streaks above and scales below than adult.

Habitat: It is found in open forest and secondary woodland, dry scrub, cultivation, village precincts, orchards, urban gardens and compounds. It is found up to 1000 m.

Food Habits: The yellow-billed babbler lives in flocks. It is a noisy bird, and the presence of a flock may generally be known at some distance by the continual chattering, squeaking and chirping produced by its members. One member often perches high and acts as a sentinel while the remaining members of the flock forage on or close to the ground. They feeds mainly on insects, but also eat fruit, nectar and human food scrap.

Breeding Habits: They breed throughout the year but the peak breeding season is April- June. The nest is built by both sexes. The nest is a loose cup, made of small twigs, rootlets, coarse grasses, green weeds, leaves and old newspaper, lined with fine grasses, fern stems or rootlets, placed above ground in thorn bush, hedge, small tree or brambles. They lay a clutch of 2–5 eggs. The incubation period is 14–17 days. The nestlings are fed by both sexes. The nestling period is 14 days. The fledglings are fed by other flock-members, as well as by parents. There is frequent brood parasitism by Jacobin Cuckoo.