Species names in all available languages
|English (United States)||Spiny Babbler|
|French||Cratérope du Népal|
|Spanish (Spain)||Turdoide nepalí|
Carol Inskipp and Hem S. Baral revised the account. Tammy Zhang curated the media, and Gracey Brouillard copyedited the account.
Turdoides nipalensis (Hodgson, 1836)
- nipalense / nipalensis
The Key to Scientific Names
Spiny Babbler Turdoides nipalensis Scientific name definitions
Version: 2.0 — Published May 7, 2022
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Walking, Running, Hopping, Climbing, etc.
Spiny Babbler is mainly terrestrial. It mostly searches for food by hopping on the ground or by jumping around a tangle of low vegetation and branches (CI, personal observation).
It flits from bush to bush as its short, rounded wings do not allow it to sustain a long flight easily. Sometimes birds may fly a considerable distance by skimming the bushes in an awkward, top-heavy manner (3).
Mating System and Operational Sex Ratio
Courtship, Copulation, and Pair Bond
The pair’s breeding vocalization behavior is described under Vocalizations.
Before copulation, the male may occasionally pick up a leaf and offer it to the female, although the female has not been observed to take it. While moving through the bushes, the female frequently picks up dead pine needles and leaves and carries them for a short distance before dropping them; the male occasionally does the same (3).
Females have been observed engaging in courtship feeding by begging for food like a young bird while drooping their wings and tails (3).
Social and Interspecific Behavior
Degree of Sociality
Spiny Babbler occurs in pairs during the breeding season and in small groups of 3–10 birds during the winter (8).
Nonpredatory Interspecific Interactions
Spiny Babbler is by far the most common babbler in scrub habitat, and none of the closely related babblers (other Turdoides sp.) are found in this habitat or in the same altitudinal range (34, 3). The only other babbler species that co-occurs with Spiny Babbler is Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler (Erythrogenys erythrogenys), with which it sometimes associates, though this species is now classified in a different family, Timaliidae (31). The presence of this species is an indication of the possible occurrence of the Spiny Babbler in an area.
Little is known about the predation of the Spiny Babbler. Snakes, martens, mongoose, and weasels, as well as other small carnivores present in the same habitat as the species, may predate these birds and their eggs (HSB, CI, personal observation).