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Chestnut-faced Babbler - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Whitehead's Babbler; Whitehead's Tree-Babbler

Photo by dandsblair
Bangkong Kahoy, Quezon Province, Philippines, January 2014
Zosterornis whiteheadi


15 cm. A smallish babbler.

  • Dull chestnut face
  • Grey nape and crown
  • Incomplete white eye ring
  • Buff yellow breast
  • Olive brown tail and wings
  • Pale olive flanks
  • Sorsogonensis has crown, supercilium and ear-coverts edged with black

Sexes similar, juveniles undescribed


Endemic to the Philippines where found only on the island of Luzon.
Restricted-range species but common in parts of its small range.


Formerly placed in the genus Stachyris.


There are 2 subspecies:

  • Z. w. whiteheadi on north and central Luzon
  • Z. w. sorsogonensis in southeast Luzon


Montane mossy forest, broadleaf evergreen forest, pine forest, open forest, secondary growth, scrub and small trees on mountainsides. Mainly above 1000m and abundant above 1400m. Locally lower (recorded at 100m).



The diet include seeds, fruit, spiders, beetles and insects.
Forages in middle to lower levels of vegetation, usually singly, in pairs or small groups. Often together with other species.


Breeding season April to June. No other information.


Resident species. Some displacement possible (recorded from Dalton pass, a migration bottleneck).


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. 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

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