Among the four babbler species, the White-browed Babbler (Pomatostomus superciliosus) is the smallest of the Australian babblers.

All of the babblers are communal, living in family groups. You will often see the offspring remain with the family group helping build nests, feeding the new young, then eventually nesting themselves. They forage mostly on the ground, whilst the nests are usually built in dense foliage, two or three metres up in a tree. The nest is a domed shape, made from twigs and sticks, with a hooded side entrance. They build two nests, a brood nest and a roosting nest.

The White-browed Babblers are found across Australian, although they appear to be concentrated south of the Tropic of Capricorn. They are a dark brown-grey bird, with a distinct white brow and dark eye stripe. They also have a white throat, a white tipped tail and relative to their body size, a long, pointed curved bill. Their tail is often held raised or fanned and is long and graduated, with a rounded tip.

Common name
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). As well as White-browed Babbler, they are also known as Chatterer and Cackler.

Images © Dorothy L

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Pomatostomidae
  • Genus: Pomatostomus
  • Species: P. superciliosus
  • Binomial name: Pomatostomus superciliosus

Footnote & References

  1. White-browed Babbler, Author Aaaron, 14 December 2020, Australian Museum,
  2. White-browed Babbler, Birds SA,
  3. White-browed babbler, (last visited May 26, 2021).