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The Yellow-billed Babbler is endemic to southern India and Sri Lanka. It is very similar to the Jungle Babbler (T. striata), but can be identified by its pale head and bright yellow bill. Like many other Turdoides babblers, it is also a cooperative breeder. It is found in a variety of habitats ranging from dense secondary forests to dry scrub jungle including cultivations, orchards, villages, suburban gardens, and parks, where they often co-occur with with Jungle Babblers. Birds mainly feed on insects and caterpillars on the ground or in the understory. Yellow-billed Babblers are social and live in flocks ranging from 3 to 15 individuals, with flock cohesion maintained through allopreening. Flock members forage together and defend their territory which could range between 1 and 10 ha (1, 2). Members of foraging groups take turns being sentinels to warn about intruders and predators (3). They are also known to forage together with other arial feeders like drongos (Dicruridae), who benefit the babblers with anti-predator warnings. It breeds throughout the year with a peak between March and June. Yellow-billed Babbler broods are frequently parasitized by sympatric species of cuckoos, with an especially high rate of parasitism by the Pied Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus). They are highly protective of their nests and have been recorded to have chased away even mongooses (4). The vocalizations of the Yellow-billed Babbler are more musical than the Jungle Babbler, and there are well defined calls for alarm, mobbing, distress, contact, movement, and begging (3). Population of this species are estimated to be stable over the past two decades (5).
Yellow-billed Babblers are behaviorally a sophisticated species with complex associations with members of its own flock, members of other flocks of the same species, as well as other species. There is much to learn about its ecology and behavior. Despite being a relatively common species across its distribution range – it is especially common to find them on the campuses of educational institutes – there have been only a handful of detailed studies on this species.