Spiny Babbler Turdoides nipalensis Scientific name definitions

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

Photos from this Account

Spiny Babbler.

Medium-sized, longish-tailed babbler with dark brown upperparts, narrowly streaked pale underparts and variably whitish face with a longish, decurved dark bill.

Spiny Babbler.

Spiny Babblers are most distinctive when seen from the front, as their white underparts with black shaft streaks are distinctive. Even when seen from the side, the extensive white on the face can still be visible, as is the slightly decurved black bill, and overall streaked appearance of the neck .

Possible confusion species: Jungle Babbler (Argya striata).

Jungle Babblers (Argya striata) are more uniformly brown, lacking the white underparts and streaking of the Spiny Babbler.

Possible confusion species: Common Babbler (Argya caudata).

The Common Babbler also has a whitish throat and breast, although it lacks the more extensive white on the face of the Spiny Babbler. It also has a dark iris, shorter, darker streaking on the head, neck and back, and lacks streaking on the breast.

Possible confusion species: Striated Babbler (Argya earlei).

Striated Babblers lack the distinctive white on the face, throat, and underparts of the Spiny Babbler.

Adult, dorsal view.

Dark brown upperparts, longish tail, and variably whitish face. Crown and upperparts are olive-tinged brown with indistinct but shiny black rigid shafts (which disappear poster­iorly), upperwing and tail plain brown with faint narrow barring.

Adult, ventral view.

Streaks soften and widen on flanks; belly whitish, undertail-coverts rufescent-olive; iris white to pale bluish; bill brownish-black, lower mandible pale grey basally; legs pale brownish-grey. Short, rounded wings.

Habitat: pair in dense, tall scrub near Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
Habitat: undergrowth with ferns in Kaski, Pashchimanchal, Nepal.

Spiny Babbler has been shown to prefer habitats with a good growth of fern species.

Habitat: group of three in tall vegetation in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.

Macaulay Library Photos for Spiny Babbler

Top-rated photos submitted to the Macaulay Library via eBird. Note: Our content editors have not confirmed the species identification for these photos.

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