Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Common Babbler (Argya caudata)


French: Cratérope indien German: Langschwanz-Elsterhäherling Spanish: Turdoide indio
Other common names: Scrub Babbler

Cossyphus caudatus

Dumont de Sainte Croix

, 1823,



Races form two groups, salvadorii and huttoni (larger and greyer) in W and eclipes and nominate (smaller and darker) in E; groups have been treated as two separate species#R, but variation in size and colour at least partly clinal. Recordings suggest possible differences in voice, but sampling across the ranges of the taxa is needed to confirm any constancy. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. salvadorii (De Filippi, 1865) – E & SE Iraq, Kuwait and SW Iran.
  • A. c. huttoni (Blyth, 1847) – Afghan Babbler – SE Iran, SW Afghanistan and SW Pakistan.
  • A. c. eclipes (A. O. Hume, 1877) – N & C Pakistan E to SW Jammu and Kashmir and adjacent NW India (NW Punjab).
  • A. c. caudata (Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1823) – Common Babbler – C, E & SE Pakistan, India (except Himalayas and NE) including Rameswaram I (off SE Tamil Nadu) and Laccadive Is, also SW Nepal.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–26 cm; 30–40 g. Fairly small to medium-sized Turdoides babbler with rather slim decurved bill, fairly strong streaking above, mostly plain white and... read more


    Song reported but not described. Chorus call (assembly call) a series of 15–25 pleasant rapid... read more


    Semi-desert, dry plains, stony lower hills, xerophytic thorn scrub-jungle, scrubland, sandy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Ants (Formicidae), caterpillars, beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), termites (Isoptera), spiders (Araneae); also grain,... read more


    All year, mainly Mar–Sept; multi-brooded. Co-operative breeder, with three permutations: (i) group with single breeding pair, (ii)... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common. Common in Baghdad area of Iraq, at least in 1960s. Common in SW & SE Iran. Very common in Dera Ismail Khan district, in N... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Common Babbler (Argya caudata). 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 26 February 2020).