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Abbott's Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by sAwnOirOychAng
Khao Nor Chuchi, Krabi, Thailand

Alternative name: Common Brown Babbler

Malacocincla abbotti


Subspecies altera
Photo © © by Michael Hooper
Cat Tien, Vietnam, April 2018

15 - 17cm (6-6¾ in). A medium-sized, non-descript Babbler:

  • Short tail
  • Heavy, hooked bill
  • Drab olive-brown upperparts
  • Bright rusty lower flanks and vent
  • Throat and breast greyish-white
  • Variable pale grey supercilium and lores

Similar species

Buff-breasted Babbler is longer-tailed and much more ochraceous below. Spot-throated Babbler is much smaller.


Local resident in Himalayas (Nepal, Bhutan) and North East India (also Eastern Ghats) east to Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo and Sumatra.
Common in much of its range.



There are 8 subspecies[2]:

  • M. a. abbotti (usually includes rufescentior and amabile):
  • M. a. krishnarajui:
  • Eastern India (Eastern Ghats in northern Andhra Pradesh)
  • M. a. williamsoni :
  • M. a.olivacea:
  • Coastal south-eastern Thailand (Chon Buri Province to Trat); Ko Kut Island
  • M. a. altera:
  • M. a.obscurior:
  • M. a. concreta:
  • Borneo, Matasiri and Belitung islands
  • M. a. baweana:
  • Bawean Island (Java Sea)

The mainland subspecies are poorly differentiated and maybe only concreta and baweana should be recognized.
Sometimes placed in genus Trichastoma or Turdinus.


Evergreen forest and dense secondary vegetation. Up to 1100m.



Feeds on insects and small invertebrates.
Usually seen singly or in pairs, near the ground. Forages with slow movements among leaf litter. Often quite tame.


Breeding season differs through range. The nest is a bulky, open cup made of dead leaves, bracken fronds, wet stems, moss, grasses, fern roots and rootlets. It's placed in a bush, weeds, clump of creepers or fern 0.5 - 1.8m above the ground. Lays 2 - 5 eggs.


Resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  3. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.