Thursday, December 8, 2011

Field identification of Scaly-crowned and Rufous-crowned Babbler

Scaly-crowned Babbler Malacopteron cinereum is a common babbler in primary forests.

The very similar Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum, however, is common in all type of forests in Borneo. They occur side-by-side in the same habitat and in almost identical elevation.

Population of both species dropped after logging, with Scaly-crowned Babbler dropped drastically.

In Tawau, we often bird in logged and secondary forests, Rofous-crowned Babbler is commonly encountered, its melodious song is often heard,  Scaly-crowned Babbler, on the other hand, is seldom seen.

Field identification to distinguish the two is not difficult as Scaly-crowned Babbler has pale pinkish legs and pale lower mandible while Rufous-crowned Babbler has dark legs and without pale lower mandible. Another ID feature is the dark tipped crown feathers of Scaly-crowned Babbler, however, this might not be easy to observe in the field.

 Rufous-crowned Babbler showing, 1. dark legs, 2. dark lower mandible and, 3. lack of black-tipped crown feathers
 Scaly-crowned Babbler showing pale legs and pale lower mandible.
 Black-tipped crown feathers and pale lower mandible of Scaly-crowned Babbler.

Happy birding.

Photodocument of Wild Birds of Borneo.

Standard References for my blog.


Ronnie Ooi said...

Thank you for the comparison. You may want to correct info on para 4?

Happy Birding !!

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Thanks, Ronnie.