Family Scimitar-babblers and allies (Timaliidae)

Least Concern

Golden Babbler (Cyanoderma chrysaeum)


French: Timalie dorée German: Goldbuschtimalie Spanish: Timalí dorado

St[achyris]. chrysæa


, 1844,



Geographical variation poorly defined, and characters separating most races very weak; revision probably needed. Six subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. chrysaeum (Blyth, 1844) – C Nepal E to Bhutan, NE Indian hill states (except E Mizoram), N & NE Myanmar and adjacent S China (SE Xizang, NW & W Yunnan).
  • C. c. binghami (Rippon, 1904) – E Mizoram (NE India) and W Myanmar.
  • C. c. auratum (Meyer de Schauensee, 1938) – E Myanmar, NW Thailand (S to Chiang Dao), N & C Laos, N Vietnam (Tonkin, N Annam) and S China (S Yunnan E to SW Guangxi).
  • C. c. assimile (Walden, 1875) – SE Myanmar (including Tenasserim) and NW & W Thailand.
  • C. c. chrysops (Richmond, 1902) – S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.
  • C. c. frigidum (Hartlaub, 1865) – Sumatra.
  • Unknown race in N Thailand, S Laos and C Vietnam (C Annam).

    Descriptive notes

    10–12 cm; 6–10 g. Distinctive small babbler with narrowly striped crown, black half-mask and yellow underparts. Nominate race has crown and nape golden-yellow,... read more


    Song a rapid “tu tu-tu-tu-tu-tu-tu” or slower “ti tu-tu-tu-tu-tu”, or... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, bamboo stands, also dense bushes, Rubus thickets, deserted... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including ants (Formicidae), caterpillars; occasionally berries. Forages in lower to middle storeys. Outside breeding season (from... read more


    Jan–Jul. In Bhutan song heard as early as mid-Feb but mostly late Mar–Jul, with peak territorial activity later, in May–... read more


    Resident, apparently with some seasonal wandering; in NE India described as occasional migrant in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare and local in Nepal. In Bhutan fairly common; near Zhemgang recorded density of 3·4 territories/km of road at 1600–1900 m, making it... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Golden Babbler (Cyanoderma chrysaeum). 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).