Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis)


These birds have grey brown upperparts, grey throat and breast with some mottling, and a pale buff belly. The head and nape are grey. The race T. a. taprobanusi of Sri Lanka is rufous beneath, and more heavily streaked on the throat and breast. It resembles Jungle Babbler, Turdoides striatus, but that species does not occur on the island. It has short rounded wings and a weak flight.


The Yellow-billed Babbler is a common resident breeding bird in Sri Lanka and southern India. Locally common or abundant.


Two subspecies are recognized
T. a. affinis from India
T. a. taprobanus from Sri Lanka


Its habitat is scrub, cultivation, open forest, orchards, gardens. Usually found in drier habitat than Jungle Babbler.


Breeding season is all year, but most birds breed between March and November in India and between November to March in Sri Lanka. It builds its nest in a tree, concealed in dense masses of foliage. The normal clutch is two to four greenish blue eggs, although up to five may be laid by birds in the hills of Sri Lanka.
The Yellow-billed Babbler lives in flocks of seven to ten or more which is why it's called "Seven Sisters" by locals (but this name can also refer to Jungle Babbler). It is a noisy bird, and the presence of a flock may generally be known at some distance by the continual chattering, squeaking and chirping produced by its members.
It feeds mainly on insects, but also eats fruit. The birds forages mainly on ground, occasionally they are seen fly catching.


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