Aust birds    Bird names   News   1-26    Habitats    Key plants    Glossary    Plumage    Nests    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Sponsors    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Common names sorted alphabetically: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   W   Y  

19

White-browed Babbler

(Pomatostomus superciliosus)
Alternate name(s): "White-eyebrowed Chatterer", "Go-away", "Stick-bird",
"Kangaroo-bird", "Jumper", "Happy Family*", "Cackler*"
Aboriginal name(s): "ngowen" (WA); "juin-juin"

Size: 19-22 cm
Weight: 30-45 g

Similar
species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See White-browed Babbler at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "superciliosus"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Lateral view of a White-browed Babbler (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Bronzewing State Forest, near Patchewollock, VIC, October 2019]

Lateral view of a White-browed Babbler
[Flinders Ranges, SA, March 2008]

Distant lateral view of a White-browed Babbler
[Flinders Ranges, SA, March 2008]

Race "gilgandra"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a White-browed Babbler
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

Near-frontal view of a White-browed Babbler
[Pilliga NP, NSW, May 2021]

Near-frontal view of a preening White-browed Babbler
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2016]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a White-browed Babbler
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2016]

Near-lateral view of a White-browed Babbler
[Leard State Forest, near Maules Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Lateral view of a White-browed Babbler
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

Race "ashbyi"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a White-browed Babbler (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wave Rock, near Hyden, WA, March 2017]

Frontal view of two White-browed Babblers (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Merredin, WA, February 2015]

Near-lateral view of a White-browed Babbler (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wave Rock, near Hyden, WA, March 2017]

Near-lateral view of two White-browed Babblers (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Merredin, WA, February 2015]

Two White-browed Babblers (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Merredin, WA, February 2015]

Race "centralis"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of a White-browed Babbler (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Alice Springs, NT, July 2018]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Dec Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 17 - 25 days Fledging age: 19 - 22 days

We have noticed a preference of White-browed Babblers in the Narrabri area for nesting in Cypress pines.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Dome Material: Sticks, with grass and/or feather lining Height above ground: 1 - 6 m

"Double-storey" stick nest of a family of White-browed Babblers, which was still being prepared for use in late December
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

White-browed Babbler leaving its nest
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

White-browed Babbler entering its nest
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

White-browed Babbler carrying nesting material
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, December 2012]

This nest, made out of sticks, is approximately oval in shape
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, December 2008]

The following photos demonstrate that White-browed Babblers, although usually building somewhat chaotic-looking stick nests, do not shy away from re-using a mudnest (without sticks or dense vegetation to hide it).

White-browed Babbler approaching its nest, a reused nest of White-winged Choughs (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Leard State Forest, near Maules Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Here one can see the White-browed Babbler's tail sticking out on the left (photo courtesy of R. Druce)
[Leard State Forest, near Maules Creek, NSW, November 2012]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 25 x 17 mm Colour: Mid-brown with strong colour pattern Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Family clan

Like other babblers, White-browed Babblers build roosts, on which they stay overnight.

White-browed Babbler roost; to the best of our knowledge this is NOT a nest
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, September 2014]

White-browed Babbler roost
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, September 2015]

White-browed Babblers form tight-knit family units. Allopreening is used regularly as a bonding ritual.

Near-frontal view of a preening White-browed Babbler
[Pilliga NP, NSW, May 2021]

Near-frontal view of the same preening White-browed Babbler, now receiving a treat from its mate
[Pilliga NP, NSW, May 2021]

Here the White-browed Babbler first receiving a treat is reciprocating the favour (photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Pilliga NP, NSW, May 2021]

This White-browed Babbler was observed while calling softly; two mates responded and started preening it from both sides
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, March 2016]

White-browed Babblers are very active birds; when they are foraging on the ground, soil can be seen flying.

Lateral view of a White-browed Babbler foraging on the ground
[Pilliga NP, NSW, May 2021]

Lateral view of a White-browed Babbler foraging on the ground, sending dirt flying (photo courtesy of V. Collins)
[Pilliga NP, NSW, May 2021]

Food, Diet

Like all other babblers of the Pomatostomus family, White-browed Babblers hunt for insects and their larvae in trees and on the ground.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

whbrbab_20140319_3.mp3 gilgandra
(NW NSW)
Q&A © MD
whbrbab_20210515.m4a gilgandra
(NW NSW)
Various (family clan of 5) © MD
whbrbab_20180930.m4a gilgandra
(NW NSW)
? (disturbed; returning to nest) © MD
whbrbab_20180930_2.m4a gilgandra
(NW NSW)
? (disturbed; returning to nest) © MD
 
whbrbab_jg_20150210.m4a ashbyi
(SW WA)
? © JG

More White-browed Babbler sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.