babbler

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Babblers

Babblers are small- to medium-sized passerine (perching) birds characterized by soft, fluffy plumage, strong, stout legs, and short rounded wings. Their wings make them poor fliers, and most are largely sedentary birds. Many species, particularly those that stay close to the ground, are gray, brown, or black, while the tree-living (arboreal) species are often green, yellow, or olive. Wren-babblers grow to only 3.5 in (9 cm), while the laughing-thrushes measure up to 1 ft (30 cm) in length.

Babblers belong to Timaliidae, a large family of approximately 280 species of passerine birds that is thought to have originated in southern Asia. Babblers are most abundant in India and the Orient, but are also found in New Guinea, the Philippines, Australia, Africa, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, and the Near East. The only species of babbler found in the New World is the wrentit (Chamaea fasciata ), a small, reclusive brown bird found in the chaparral country west of the Rocky Mountains from Oregon, south to Baja California.

Most babblers are highly social and nuzzle close to their mates and flock companions. Babblers feed primarily on insects gathered by probing and digging into the earth with their beaks; fruit and seeds round out their diet. While foraging for food, babblers keep in constant contact through the noisy chattering sounds for which they are named. The chattering pattern varies between species, some jabbering almost constantly, while others remain relatively quiet. Only members of the subfamily Turdoidini are true songbirds, and their bright plumage makes them prized as cage birds.

Most babblers build dome-shaped nests on or near the ground, while the Turdoidini songbirds typically build cup-shaped nests in trees. The bareheaded rockfowl or white-necked picathartes (Picathartes gymnocephalus ), a most unusual babbler from Africa, defies convention by plastering its mud nest to the side of a cliff.

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Babblers

Babblers are small to medium-sized passerine (perching) birds characterized by soft, fluffy plumage, strong, stout legs, and short rounded wings. Their wings make them poor fliers, and most are largely sedentary birds. Many species , particularly those that stay close to the ground, are gray, brown, or black, while the tree-living (arboreal) species are often green, yellow, or olive. Wren-babblers grow to only 3.5 in (9 cm), while the laughing-thrushes measure up to 1 ft (30 cm).

Babblers belong to Timaliidae, a large family of approximately 230 species of passerine (perching) birds that is thought to have originated in southern Asia . Babblers are most abundant in India and the Orient, but are also found in New Guinea, the Philippines, Australia , Africa , Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, and the Near East. The only species of babbler found in the New World is the wrentit, a small, reclusive brown bird found in the chaparral country west of the Rocky Mountains from Oregon, south to Baja California.

Most babblers are highly social and nuzzle close to their mates and flock companions. Babblers feed primarily on insects gathered by probing and digging into the earth with their beaks; fruit and seeds round out their diet. While foraging for food, babblers keep in constant contact through the noisy chattering sounds for which they are named. The chattering pattern varies between species, some jabbering almost constantly, while others remain relatively quiet. Only members of the subfamily Turdoidini are true songbirds, and their bright plumage makes them prized as cage birds.

Most babblers build dome-shaped nests on or near the ground, while the Turdoidini songbirds typically build cup-shaped nests in trees. The bareheaded rock fowl, a most unusual babbler from Africa, defies convention by plastering its mud nest to the side of a cliff.

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Timaliidae (babblers, fulvettas, nun babblers, rail-babbler; class Aves, order Passeriformes) A family of fairly small birds, most of which are brown, grey, and buff, but some of which have brighter colours. They have varied bill shapes, short, rounded wings, and many have long tails. Their feathers are soft, and long on the back. They are mainly arboreal, although some are terrestrial, and inhabit forests and scrub. They feed on insects and fruit, and nest in cup-shaped or domed nests in trees, bushes, grass, or on the ground. Eupetes macrocercus (rail-babbler) hunts insects by running along the ground. Some (e.g. Turdoides) are noted for their loud and melodious song; the white-crested laughing thrush (one of the 48 species of Garrulax, laughing thrushes) is a popular cage bird. There are about 57 genera in the family, with 275 species, found in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia.

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babbler, common name for some members of the large, diversified family Timaliidae, passerine birds found primarily in wooded areas of Asia, Africa, and Australia. Babblers have soft, fluffy plumage and vary in coloring; various species resemble other birds, and five of the seven groups of babblers are named on this basis—the wren babblers, the tit babblers, the laughing thrushes, and the crow tits, or parrotbills. The wren tit, the only American babbler (found W of the Rockies), is believed to be an offshoot of the crow tits. Other groups are called ground babblers, found in Australia; jungle babblers, distributed in the Philippines; and rock fowl, found in W Africa. Babblers are insectivorous and, as their name suggests, are noisy birds. They are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Timaliidae.

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babblers See TIMALIIDAE.