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.


Ron-Nature Adventures said...

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

Happy Birding !!

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Thanks, Ronnie.