1 minute read

Pseudo Babblers: Pomatostomidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Social birds, pseudo babblers live and forage in communal groups of twelve or more birds. These groups consist of one primary breeding pair, their offspring, and even their siblings. They will roost, feed, rest, and preen together. They constantly call out to each other as they move about the forest floor as if to keep in hearing range of one another. At night, they all cluster together in large, sturdy dormitory nests to sleep.

These birds forage in permanent territories of approximately 124 acres (50 hectares), using their long bills to shift through the litter on the forest floor. Sometimes, they will dig into the ground or poke into the trunks and branches of trees. If they find a large insect or small reptile, they will share the food with the group.

Depending on the location and the species, breeding occurs in the spring and early summer of the Southern Hemisphere. In New Guinea, however, breeding occurs whenever the conditions within the region can support the young. The primary breeding pair builds the dome-shaped nest, made from twigs and plant fibers and lined with animal hair and finer plant materials. These nests are constructed in the upper branches of shrubs and trees up to 6.6 to 16.2 feet (2 to 8 meters) above the ground. Rufous babblers in New Guinea anchor their nests on the tips of palm fronds.


The survival of the gray-crowned babbler depends on the number of helper birds in each social group. These birds are critical to the rearing of the young and the defense of the group's territory. Helpers in these social groups usually are the siblings of the primary mating pair or the pair's own grown offspring. Unlike bees, which also have a highly developed social structure, helper birds are able to breed and do so when the primary pair has died and a new primary pair takes over leadership of the group.

The primary female lays two to five pale gray eggs that are covered with dark lines. While she incubates, or sits on the eggs until they hatch, for sixteen to twenty-three days, she is fed by all of the members of the social group. The group will also help feed the young hatchlings for twenty to twenty-one days.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsPseudo Babblers: Pomatostomidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Gray-crowned Babbler (pomatostomus Temporalis): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, PSEUDO BABBLERS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS