Tuesday, 27 December 2011

White-browed babbler

Pomatostomus superciliosus

Photo by Dana Paris (DParis)

Common name:
white-browed babbler (en); zaragateiro-de-sobrolho-branco (pt); pomatostome bridé (fr); gárrulo cejudo (es); brauensäbler (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Pomatostomidae

This species is endemic to mainland Australia, mainly south of the Tropic of Capricorn and west of the Great Dividing Range and to the north of the Dividing Range in Victoria, extending to south-eastern South Australia.

These birds are 17-22 cm long and weigh 40 g.

They are mostly found in dry sclerophyll woodlands with a scrubby understorey, especially along watercourses and saltbush.

White-browed babblers feed on the ground, among leaf litter or under logs and branches, eating insects, spiders and other invertebrates, small amphibians, crustaceans and reptiles and also fruits and seeds.

These birds may breed all year round, but tend to concentrate breeding in June-November. Breeding pairs are monogamous, but they form cooperative breeding groups comprising 2-4 breeding pairs and 2-8 non-breeding helpers. Each pair builds a domed stick nest, with a hooded side entrance, placed in a tree 1-6 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female alone for 17-25 days. The chicks are fed by both their parents and other members of the group and fledge 19-22 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common. The population is in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation and perhaps also because of introduced predators, but overall the white-browed babbler is not considered threatened at present.

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