Family Scimitar-babblers and allies (Timaliidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-capped Babbler (Timalia pileata)


French: Timalie coiffée German: Rotkappentimalie Spanish: Timalí capirotado

Timalia pileata


, 1821,



Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. p. bengalensis Godwin-Austen, 1872 – N & NE India (E from E Uttarakhand, S to N Uttar Pradesh, N Bihar and E Odisha), S Nepal, Bangladesh and NW & W Myanmar.
  • T. p. smithi Deignan, 1955 – N & E Myanmar, NW Thailand, S China (W & S Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong), N & C Laos and N Vietnam (Tonkin, N Annam).
  • T. p. intermedia Kinnear, 1924 – C & S Myanmar (E of R Irrawaddy) and W Thailand (Kanchanaburi).
  • T. p. patriciae Deignan, 1955 – SW Thailand.
  • T. p. dictator Kinnear, 1930 – NE & SE Thailand and S Indochina.
  • T. p. pileata Horsfield, 1821 – W Java. Probably this race recently recorded in E Java (Baluran National Park#R) and Bali#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5–17 cm; 15–23 g. Medium-sized babbler with rather long graduated tail, thick black bill, black half-mask, white face and breast and chestnut cap. Nominate... read more


    Songs include sudden husky phrases ending with thin metallic notes, “wher-wher witch-it-it”, “wher-... read more


    Low-lying swampy areas, tall grass (including Saccharum), reedbeds, brushwood and scrub-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Caterpillars, beetles (Coleoptera) and other insects and their eggs. Found in pairs during breeding season; otherwise in small parties of... read more


    Feb–Oct in India and Apr–Sept in SE Asia; probably multi-brooded. Nest, built by both sexes, described as a rough ball, oval or... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon in Nepal except in Royal Chitwan National Park, where common. Locally common in India, where common in Dudhwa National Park... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Chestnut-capped Babbler (Timalia pileata). 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 23 January 2019).