The Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) is a medium size bird, but the largest of the four babbler species. A conspicuous songbird with long curved beak, dark brown-grey above, a distinctive grey crown, dark grey mask and whitish eyes, The eye is pale yellow in adults. The underparts are variable reddish to dark brown, chin and throat are white, with a pale grey lower breast. It has short rounded wings, cinnamon brown colour wing patches and a long tail that is tipped white.
They are a highly sociable and communal bird that live in family groups of four to twelve members. Noisy and gregarious bird, they have a wide range of calls. Often seen on the ground or in low trees.
Their group usually consists of a primary breeding pair, with several non-breeding, although some groups can contain two breeding females or two breeding pairs. They build two types of nest that include the roost-nest (that is used by the whole group) and the brood nests (for the breeding females). These nests are large domed creations placed in a fork of a tree. The nests are constructed from sticks and twigs, with a hood and landing platform for the entrance. The nest inside is lined with bark, grass, wool and feathers. They will often re-use the same nests. All group members help to feed the young.
In north-western Australia there is a darker-coloured subspecies, rubeculus, that is often called the Red-breasted Babbler. This subspecies has a rufous lower breast and darker crown stripe.
Sometimes known as the ‘Yahoo-bird’, it is thought that this name stems from one of their common calls, where two birds do a call almost in unison (the ‘ya’ part is called by the female, closely followed by the ‘hoo’ called by the male). They are also known by the name Grey-crowned Chatterer, Happy Jack, Barker and Barking-bird.
Images © Dorothy L
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Pomatostomidae
- Genus: Pomastostomus
- Subgenus: infrageneric Pomatostomus
- Species: Pomatostomus temporalis
Footnote & References
- Grey-crowned Babbler – Bird calls / bird song, Graeme Chapman, Natural History Photographer – Ornithologist, https://www.graemechapman.com.au/library/sounds.php?c=4&p=54
- Grey-crowned Babbler (eastern subspecies), NSW Government Office of Environment Heritage, https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10660
BirdsApostlebird Australasian Darter Australasian Figbird Australasian Gannet Australasian Grebe Australasian Pipit Australasian Robins Australasian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis) Australasian Wrens Australian Babblers Australian Bustard Australian Chats Australian Magpie Australian Pelican Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella) Australian White Ibis Bassian Thrush Black-faced Cormorant Black-faced Woodswallow Black Swan Bowerbirds Brolga Brown Songlark Channel-billed Cuckoo Cinnamon Quail-thrush Cormorants Cuckooshrikes and Allies Dotterels Lapwings Plovers Doves & Pigeons Emu Fairy Martin Finches Grey Fantail Grey Teal Honeyeaters Kingfishers Little Friarbird Little Grassbird Magpie-lark Masked Woodswallow Noisy Pitta Olive Whistler Paradise Riflebird Pardalotes Parrots Pheasant Coucal Pied Butcherbird Rainbow Bee-eater Raptors Rufous Fantail Redthroat Rufous Bristlebird Silver-crowned Friarbird Torresian Crow Waders Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) White-browed Woodswallow White Capped Noddy White-faced Heron White-necked Heron Willie Wagtail Yellow-throated Scrubwren