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Pale-breasted Illadopsis - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-breasted Akalat; White-breasted Illadopsis; Pale-breasted Thrush-Babbler

Illadopsis rufipennis


14 - 15cm. A thrush-like Babbler, very similar to Brown Illadopsis:

  • Dark rufous brown crown, lores, cheek, upperpars and tail
  • Very slight pale eyering
  • Head and face side slightly greyish and olive
  • Throat white and puffed out in excitement
  • Breast pale buffish-brown, belly whiter

Confusion species

Distinguished from Brown Illadopsis by smaller size, shorter tail, more contrast between upper- and underparts and voice. See also Scaly-breasted Illadopsis.


Found mainly in west and central Africa from Sierra Leone east over Cameroon to Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo to Kenya and Tanzania.
Common in parts of its range.


Formerly placed in genus Malacocincla or Trichastoma. Tanzanian Illadopsis was formerly considered conspecific with this species.


Clements recognizes two subspecies[1].

IOC additionally recognizes subspecies I. r. bocagei from Bioko Island, but this is included as a synonym of rufipennis by Clements.


Dense undergrowth in primary and secondary humid broadleaf forest. Also transition and montane evergreen forest, moss forest, logged forest and forest patches in grassland. Generally between 500 - 1525m, in Kenya up to 2300m.


Feeds on small invertebrates and their eggs.
Usually seen singly, in pairs or in small groups, sometimes with other species at driver-ant columns. Forages on or close to the ground, usually lower than Brown Illadopsis.
Breeding season differs through range. Maybe a co-operative breeder. The nest can be a large loose deep cup or a flat cup made of rootlets. The nest is placed 0.8 to 2.5m above the ground well hidden in a bush or small tree. Lays 2 eggs. Brood parasitism by Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo reported.
Resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. 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

External Links

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