Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Brown-capped Babbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillus)


French: Akalat à calotte brune German: Braunscheitel-Erddrossling Spanish: Tordina coroniparda

Dr[ymocataphus]. fuscocapillus


, 1849,

SW Sri Lanka


Proposed race scortillum (SW wet-zone lowlands) falls within range of variation of nominate, and is therefore synonymized with it. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. babaulti (T. Wells, 1919) – dry zone of N & E Sri Lanka.
  • P. f. fuscocapillus (Blyth, 1849) – wet zone of SW & C Sri Lanka.
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 30 g. Smallish, plain brown babbler with dark brown crown and bright rufous-tan underparts. Nominate race has crown, nape and upper mantle dark brown with pale buff... read more


    Song a monotonously repeated, loud, rich, clear whistle, middle note pitched higher and last note... read more


    Dense thickets, brushwood and undergrowth both within and outside evergreen broadleaf forest, also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including large beetles (Coleoptera). Found in pairs or in small parties of up to five or so individuals. Spends most time on or... read more


    Feb–Apr and Sept–Dec, mainly Mar–Apr. Nest a loose ball with large lateral entrance, or occasionally a cup, made of dead... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Sri Lanka EBA. Common in lowlands and hills; widespread throughout the island, including Sinharaja ­Forest... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Brown-capped Babbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 April 2019).