THE CHARISMATIC BABBLERS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

When it comes to the regular party crowd within the Southern Africa bird mix you would be hard pressed to beat the babblers. Ever so inquisitive, easy to arouse and characteristically noisy by nature, they constitute by far my favourite bird family in the sub-region.

White-rumped (Hartlaub's) Babbler - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

White-rumped (Hartlaub's) Babbler - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Five species, excluding the very different Bush Blackcap, make up the suite and, with the exception of the Arrow-marked Babbler, the majority favour the more arid thorn veld savannah of the west with Namibia boasting all five species. Family parties are highly communicative and are usually found on the move actively investigating their immediate surroundings as a vocally linked collective at the very start of each day.

Southern Pied Babbler  - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Southern Pied Babbler - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Allopreening and cooperative breeding behaviour are shared characteristics between the species and, for me, a ‘chorus line’ of babblers sums up the collective description based on the cacophony of vocalisations, comprising of harsh chattering calls erupting in raucous chorus, as the birds line-up enthusiastically to ‘spark off’ one another from a conspicuous perch…

Bare-cheeked Babbler  - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Bare-cheeked Babbler - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Black-faced Babbler, Roy's Camp in Namibia - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Black-faced Babbler, Roy's Camp in Namibia - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Arrow-marked Babbler - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

Arrow-marked Babbler - Patrick Cardwell www.avianleisure.com

 

 

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