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Jungle Babbler

Jungle Babbler
Photo Information
Copyright: Nagesh Vannur (nagesh) Silver Note Writer [C: 0 W: 0 N: 69] (362)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2015-04-06
Categories: Birds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2015-04-07 4:25
Viewed: 1266
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Amazing! Bird sounds from the Jungle Babbler - Karnataka Wildlife India -

Nagesh Vannur Presents the amazing Jungle Babbler, which mimics the calls of other birds in this video clip from The Life of Birds. This clever creature is one of the most impressive and funny in nature, with unbelievable sounds to match the beautiful pictures.


Jungle Babbler

The jungle babbler (Turdoides striata) is a member of the Leiothrichidae family found in the Indian subcontinent. They are gregarious birds that forage in small groups of six to ten birds, a habit that has given them the popular name of Seven Sisters or Saath bhai in Hindi with cognates in other regional languages which means "seven brothers".

The jungle babbler is a common resident breeding bird in most parts of the Indian subcontinent and is often seen in gardens within large cities as well as in forested areas. In the past, the orange-billed babbler, Turdoides rufescens, of Sri Lanka was considered to be a race of this babbler, but is elevated to a species.


The jungle babbler's habitat is forest and cultivation. This species, like most babblers, is non-migratory, and has short rounded wings and a weak flight. The sexes are identical, drably coloured in brownish grey with a yellow-bill making them confusable only with the endemic yellow-billed babblers of peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The upperparts are usually slightly darker in shade and there is some mottling on the throat and breast. The race T. s. somervillei of Maharashtra has a very rufous tail and dark primary flight feathers.The jungle babbler can be separated from the White-headed Babbler by the dark loreal zone between the bill and the eye as well as the lack of a contrasting light crown. The calls of the two species are however distinct and unmistakable. The jungle babbler has harsh nasal calls while the White-headed Babbler has high pitched calls. Another babbler that is similarly found in urban areas is the large grey babbler, however that species has a distinctive long tail with white outer tail feathers.

The jungle babbler lives in flocks of seven to ten or more. It is a noisy bird, and the presence of a flock may generally be known at some distance by the harsh mewing calls, continual chattering, squeaking and chirping produced by its members.

Taxonomy and systematics

The species was described in 1823 under the name of Cossyphus striatus and was based on a specimen from Bengal. There are several named geographically isolated subspecies that show plumage shade differences. Former race rufescens of Sri Lanka is considered a full species. The widely accepted subspecies include:

striata ( Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1823) which is found over much of northern India south of the Himalayan foothills extending to Bhutan, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and northeastern Andhra Pradesh. The form in parts of Odisha, orissae, is said to be more rufous above is usually subsumed into this.
sindiana ( Ticehurst, 1920) is a paler desert form that is found in the Indus plains of Pakistan and extends into Rajasthan and the Rann of Kutch in India
somervillei ( Sykes, 1832) is found in the northern Western Ghats south to the Goa Gap
malabarica ( Jerdon, 1845) is found in the southern Western Ghats
orientalis ( Jerdon, 1845) is found in peninsular India east of the Western Ghats
Some older literature can be confusing due to some incorrect usage such as Whistler (1944, Spolia Zeylanica, 23:131), who used the name affinis (which could be confused with Turdoides affinis when intending to indicate the subspecies of striatus found in peninsular India.

Behaviour and ecology

These birds are gregarious and very social. They sometimes form the core of a mixed-species foraging flock. They feed mainly on insects, but also eats grains, nectar and berries. The groups maintain territories and will defend it against neighbours but will sometimes tolerate them. For their size, they are long lived and have been noted to live as long as 16.5 years in captivity.

When foraging, some birds take up a high vantage point and act as sentinels. They are known to gather and mob potential predators such as snakes.

Young birds have a dark iris. Older birds have a pale creamy colour and it has been found that the iris has a dark epithelium which become invisible when the muscle fibres develop in the iris and make the dark basal colours invisible and then appear cream coloured.

They breed throughout the year; peak breeding in northern India has been noted between March–April and July–September. Birds are able to breed after their third year. The nest is built halfway in a tree, concealed in dense masses of foliage. The normal clutch is three or four (but can be up to seven) deep greenish blue eggs. In northern India, birds breeding during June–September tend to be parasitized by the pied crested cuckoo and sometimes by the common hawk-cuckoo. Helpers assist the parents in feeding the young. Post fledging survival is very high.

Birds fledge and females tend to leave their natal group after about two years. Birds within a group often indulge in allopreening, play chases and mock fights. When threatened by predators, they have been said to sometimes feign death.

In culture

These birds are very common near towns and cities particularly in northern India and are well known for their habit of moving in groups giving them the local name of "Sath Bhai" which means seven brethren but translated by the English in India to "Seven sisters". Visitors to India were very likely to notice these vocal and active birds and Frank Finn notes an incident during the Colonial period in India:

Some years back, a new Viceroy was being shown the wonders of his temporary kingdom, and among these the Taj at Agra held, of course, an important place. Arrived before the glorious monument of Eastern love and pride, the artless Aide-de-Camp was mute; the gilded staff were still as Kipling says, in anxious expectation of the comment of His Excellency. But this, alas when it came was merely the remark: "What are those funny little birds ? The shock must have been the greater for the fact that the mean fowls thus honoured were it seems, of that singularly disreputable species which is commonly known in India as the "Seven Sisters" or "Seven Brothers," or by the Hindustani equivalent of sat-bhai."


BirdLife International (2012). "Turdoides striata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
Yule, Henry, Sir. (1903). Hobson-Jobson : A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive. (editor) William Crooke, B.A. J. Murray, London.
to: a b Ali, S & S D Ripley (1996). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan 6 (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 224–230.
to: a b Ripley, S Dillon (1958). "Indian Birds. VII.". Postilla 35: 1–12.
Ripley,S Dillon (1969). "The name of the Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus (Aves) from Orissa.". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 66 (1): 167–168.
Rasmussen, PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. pp. 445–446.
Narang, ML & Lamba, BS (1986). "Food habits of jungle babbler Turdoides striatus (Dumont) and its role in the ecosystem". Indian Journal of Ecology 13 (1): 38–45.
Gaston, AJ (1978). "The Evolution of Group Territorial Behavior and Cooperative Breeding.". The American Naturalist 112 (988): 1091–1100. doi:10.1086/283348.
Flower SS (1938). "Further notes on the duration of life in animals. IV. Birds". Proc. Zool. Soc. London, Ser. A: 195–235.
Devasahayam,S; Devasahayam,Anita (1991). "Aggressive behaviour of Jungle Babblers Turdoides striatus (Dumont) towards a snake.". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 88 (2): 288.
Andrew MI & RM Naik (1965). "Structural basis of the change of eye colour of the Jungle Babbler, Turdoides striatus (Dumont), during post-embryonic development.". Pavo 3: 72–74.
to: a b c Gaston, AJ (1978). "Demography of the Jungle Babbler, Turdoides striatus.". Journal of Animal Ecology 47 (3): 845–870. doi:10.2307/3675. JSTOR 3675.
Gaston, A. J. (1976). "Brood parasitism by the Pied Crested Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus.". Journal of Animal Ecology 45 (2): 331–48. doi:10.2307/3878. JSTOR 3878.
Gaston, A. J. (1977). "Social behaviour within groups of jungle babblers Turdoides striatus". Animal Behaviour 25 (828–848): 828. doi:10.1016/0003-3472(77)90036-7.
Neelakantan,KK (1957). "Hypnotic behaviour of a White-headed Babbler (Turdoides striatus)". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 54 (2): 460–461. (Note: the reference uses the binomial of the Jungle Babbler)
Whistler, Hugh (1949). Popular handbook of Indian birds (4 ed.). Gurney and Jackson, London. pp. 40–43.
Finn, Frank (1904). The Birds of Calcutta. Thacker, Spink and Co.
All Information Wikipedia - Sources
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600.0 mm
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Location: [ Chorla Ghats ] The Western Ghats are a mountain range that runs almost parallel to the western coast of Indian peninsula. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight "hottest hotspots" of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty nine properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites - twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.

The range starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India. These hills cover 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The Western Ghats block southwest monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau. The average elevation is around 1,200 m (3,900 ft).

The area is one of the world's ten "Hottest biodiversity hotspots" and has over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species and 288 freshwater fish species; it is likely that many undiscovered species live in the Western Ghats. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.
Photo Taken By. 2015 -- Photo Taken Time:
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Bonjour Nagesh,
L'attitude du sujet dans son environnement est originale mais le cadrage me paraît tout de même un peu trop large.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

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