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Horsfield's Babbler - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Horsfield's Jungle Babbler)
Photo by James Eaton
Sepilok, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Alternative names: Horsfield's Jungle Babbler; Rusty-brown Babbler

Malacocincla sepiaria

Includes Vanderbilt's Babbler (or Koengke Babbler)


15 - 16cm. A nondescript Babbler:

  • Dark brown crown (greyer than upperparts)
  • Olive-brown upperparts
  • Short tail
  • Pale grey lores and supercilium
  • Streaky buff-brown ear-coverts and neck side
  • Whitish chin, submoustachial area and throat
  • Lower throat and upper breast with greyish-buff streaks
  • Breast and upper flanks greyish-buff fading to whitish on belly and buffy ochre on lower flanks

Similar species

Differs from very similar Abbott's Babbler by shorter tail, darker upperparts (especially crown) and streaks on upper breast.


Found from extreme south Thailand over peninsular Malaysia to Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Bali.
Common in parts of its range.


Five subspecies recognized:

The described Vanderbilt's Babbler (M. vanderbilti) from Aceh, Sumatra, is now known to be a synonym of barussana.
Liberale and minor are usually not accepted.
Has been treated conspecific with Black-browed Babbler.
Sometimes placed in genus Turdinus.


Broadleaf evergreen forest, usually near water. From the lowlands up to 700m in Thailand and Malaysia, 300 - 1400m in Sumatra and up to 1700m in Borneo and Java.


Feeds on insects.
Usually seen singly, in pairs or small groups. Forages on the ground, in low vegetation and sometimes in middle storey.
Breeding season February to September and November in Borneo, April to May in peninsular Malaysia and February to May in Java. The nest is a broad untidy cup, made of dead leaves. It's placed in a sapling up to 1m above the ground. Lays 2 eggs.
Resident species.


  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

Recommended Citation

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