Spiny Babbler Turdoides nipalensis Scientific name definitions

Carol Inskipp and Hem S. Baral
Version: 2.0 — Published May 7, 2022

Diet and Foraging


Main Foods Taken

The Spiny Babbler’s chief diet is given as insects (8).

Microhabitat for Foraging

Forages almost entirely on the ground, searching under low bushes and occasionally appearing in the open, sometimes to peck at a patch of dried cow dung or turn over dead leaves.

Food Capture and Consumption

It mainly forages on the ground or within a meter of the ground amongst low vegetation, chiefly shrubs, searching for insects. It also flits from branch to branch on trees up to 10 m high, foraging for fruit, nectar, and invertebrates, especially caterpillars. It usually does not go to the top of taller trees for foraging (32). It will disappear at the least disturbance, only to venture out again a few minutes later (3).


Major Food Items

In one long-term study, 2,295 food items (from 316 birds) consisted of 86% invertebrates and 14% fruit and seeds. Invertebrate food items included the following: 13% beetles (Coleoptera), 13% bugs (Hemiptera), 12% Lepidoptera, 10% annelid worms, 9% Orthoptera, 5% earwigs (Dermaptera), 3% dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), 3% homopteran bugs, 3% termites (Isoptera), and 15% other or unidentified invertebrates. The vegetable matter consisted of barberry and purple berry (Berberis sp.), fig and banyan (Ficus sp.), and rice seeds (Oryza sp.), with flower petals and other vegetable remains, all in fairly equal proportions (32). However, this information requires further confirmation.

Food Selection and Storage

No information.

Nutrition and Energetics

No information.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

No information.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

No information.

Recommended Citation

Inskipp, C. and H. S. Baral (2022). Spiny Babbler (Turdoides nipalensis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.spibab1.02