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Pellorneidae - Fulvettas, Ground Babblers & Allies

Puff-throated Babbler
Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps ©Craig Brelsford Website

The ground babblers are a family of mostly Old World passerine birds. They are rather diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. These are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The entire family was previously included in the Timaliidae. Morphological diversity is rather high; most species resemble 'warblers', jays or thrushes.

They are small to medium sized birds. They have strong legs, and many are quite terrestrial. They typically have generalised bills, similar to those of a thrush or warbler. Most have predominantly brown plumage, with minimal difference between the sexes, but many more brightly coloured species also exist.

This group is not strongly migratory, and most species have short rounded wings, and a weak flight. They live in lightly wooded or scrubland environments, ranging from swamp to near-desert. They are primarily insectivorous, although many will also take berries, and the larger species will even eat small lizards and other vertebrates.

According to the IOC there are (as at December 2016) seventy species, which are:

Rufous-vented Prinia Laticilla burnesii
Swamp Prinia Laticilla cinerascens

Golden-fronted Fulvetta Alcippe variegaticeps
Yellow-throated Fulvetta Alcippe cinerea
Rufous-winged Fulvetta Alcippe castaneceps
Black-crowned Fulvetta Alcippe klossi
Rufous-throated Fulvetta Alcippe rufogularis
Rusty-capped Fulvetta Alcippe dubia
Dusky Fulvetta Alcippe brunnea
Brown Fulvetta Alcippe brunneicauda
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe poioicephala
Javan Fulvetta Alcippe pyrrhoptera
Mountain Fulvetta Alcippe peracensis
Black-browed Fulvetta Alcippe grotei
Grey-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe morrisonia
David's Fulvetta Alcippe davidi
Yunnan Fulvetta Alcippe fratercula
Huet's Fulvetta Alcippe hueti
Nepal Fulvetta Alcippe nipalensis

Bornean Wren-Babbler Ptilocichla leucogrammica
Striated Wren-Babbler Ptilocichla mindanensis
Falcated Wren-Babbler Ptilocichla falcata

Rusty-breasted Wren-Babbler Napothera rufipectus
Black-throated Wren-Babbler Napothera atrigularis
Large Wren-Babbler Napothera macrodactyla
Marbled Wren-Babbler Napothera marmorata
Limestone Wren-Babbler Napothera crispifrons
Streaked Wren-Babbler Napothera brevicaudata
Mountain Wren-Babbler Napothera crassa
Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler Napothera epilepidota

White-hooded Babbler Gampsorhynchus rufulus
Collared Babbler Gampsorhynchus torquatus

Spotted Thrush-Babbler Ptyrticus turdinus

Blackcap Illadopsis Illadopsis cleaveri
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis albipectus
Rufous-winged Illadopsis Illadopsis rufescens
Puvel's Illadopsis Illadopsis puveli
Pale-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis rufipennis
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens
Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera

Short-tailed Scimitar Babbler Jabouilleia danjoui
Naung Mung Scimitar Babbler Jabouilleia naungmungensis

Long-billed Wren-Babbler Rimator malacoptilus
Sumatran Wren-Babbler Rimator albostriatus
White-throated Wren-Babbler Rimator pasquieri

Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti
Horsfield's Babbler Malacocincla sepiaria
Black-browed Babbler Malacocincla perspicillata
Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis
Ashy-headed Babbler Malacocincla cinereiceps

Moustached Babbler Malacopteron magnirostre
Sooty-capped Babbler Malacopteron affine
Scaly-crowned Babbler Malacopteron cinereum
Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum
Melodious Babbler Malacopteron palawanense
Grey-breasted Babbler Malacopteron albogulare

White-chested Babbler Trichastoma rostratum
Sulawesi Babbler Trichastoma celebense
Ferruginous Babbler Trichastoma bicolor

Striped Wren-Babbler Kenopia striata

Indian Grassbird Graminicola bengalensis
Chinese Grassbird Graminicola striatus

Spot-throated Babbler Pellorneum albiventre
Marsh Babbler Pellorneum palustre
Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps
Brown-capped Babbler Pellorneum fuscocapillus
Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum tickelli
Sumatran Babbler Pellorneum buettikoferi
Temminck's Babbler Pellorneum pyrrogenys
Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum

Family Links

Ground Babblers & Fulvettas Pellornidae

Family Account

The ground babblers are a family of mostly Old World passerine birds. They are rather diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage.

Ground Babblers & FulvettasPellornidae

Family Account

Genetic evidence has broken-up and then reconstructed the Babblers. Recent papers (Gelang et al. 2009, Cibois et al. 2010, Moyle et al. 2012) have left us with an understanding that there are three major clades within the "core babblers." Most consider these clades to be Families (e.g., Fregin et al. 2012) and I do so here. One of these new families is the Pellorneidae, which combines a revised fulvetta grouping with many of the Old World ground-babblers.

Species Links

Rufous-vented Prinia Laticilla burnesii

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map