• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

African Hill Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Abyssinian Hill Babbler; Mountain Babbler; Hill Akalat

Nominate subspecies
Photo by volker sthamer
Harena Forest, Ethiopia, January 2018
Sylvia abyssinica

Illadopsis abyssinica


13 - 15cm (5-6 in). A bird with marked racial variation.

  • Upperparts and tertial rich brown
  • Upperwing and tail dark brown with rich brown fringes
  • Grey head, grey breast and vent and whitish-grey throat


  • Stierlingi with blackish-grey crown and head sides, whitish trhoat and breast with grey streaks

Similar species

Mountain Illadopsis is very similar but has a gradual (not sharp) demarcation of crown and mantle colour. Also differs in voice and behaviour.


Sub-Saharan Africa
Western Africa: Guinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
African Islands: Gulf of Guinea Islands, Bioko (Fernando Po) Common in parts of its range.


Has also been placed in genus Illadopsis.


Clements2 accepts five subspecies:

Rwenzori Hill Babbler has recently been split from this species.


Dry forests, moist montane forests, and moist shrubland.



Feeds on insects like bark beetles or caterpillars and molluscs. Takes also small berries, fruits and seeds.
Forages in undergrowth and liana-rich middle-stratum thickets where it gleans its prey from twigs and leaves, sometimes hovering. Usually seen singly or in pairs, sometimes in small groups.


Breeding season differs through range. The nest is a small basket or cup made of dry twigs and woven with fine dry stalks or moss or beard lichen. Lays 2 eggs.


Resident species.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. 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
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.