Yellow-billed Babbler Turdoides affinis

Kulbushansingh Suryawanshi
Version: 2.0 — Published September 17, 2020

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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No information.

Vocal Array

Calls. Sharper and more musical than that of Jungle Babbler (T. striata) . Zacharias and Mathew (3) distinguished seven different types of call and identified their functions, but did not identify any vocalization which could be considered as a song. The most frequently heard call is a musical trill trrr-ri-ri-ri often by one or more members of the flock from the ground or a low perch (16). It is considered a twittering call by Zacharias and Mathew (3), and is also used by members of the flock when they are separated or by nestlings to attract the attention of the adults . A soft 'Ke' is uttered repeatedly during foraging, most likely to be the contact call . A short and shrill 'Keek' and soft and low 'Kurrh... Kurrh... Kurrh...' are sounded in alarm by the sentinel and followed by rest of the flock . A low pitched call similar to the twittering call is used for mobbing with open bills and fluttering wings. A continuous repetition of the contact call is used before moving out of an area. Juveniles and nestlings use a low pitch whistle for begging.

Geographic Variation

No information.


Similar repertoire is recorded across the year but needs more investigation (3).

Daily Pattern of Vocalizing

Little information is available. Yellow-billed Babblers start the day with contact calls between 05:55-06:20 h followed by foraging activity during which the twittering and contact calls are used repeatedly. Low activity and few vocalizations are recorded between 13:00-15:00 h. Noisy squabbles and twittering occur before roosting between 18:00-19:00 h (3).

Places of Vocalizing

The sentinel bird usually calls from a high perch between of 2 to 7 m in bushes, trees, branches, lamp posts, compound walls, rocks, and even wires. Foraging birds call from the ground or low perches in bushes while feeding (3).

Gender Differences

No information.

Repertoire and Delivery of Songs

No information on song repertoire.

Social Context and Presumed Functions of Vocalizations

Primary function of vocalization in Yellow-billed Babblers seems to be aimed at maintaining flock cohesion and alerting the flock to possible intruder or predator. Flocks move in unison through the day using series of contact, twittering, and alarm calls. More research is necessary to understand differences in call and song structure across flocks.

Nonvocal Sounds

None recorded.

Recommended Citation

Suryawanshi, K. (2020). Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.yebbab1.02