Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Grey-breasted Illadopsis (Illadopsis distans)


French: Akalat de Friedmann German: Sansibarlaubbdrossling Spanish: Tordina distante

Turdinus rufipennis distans


, 1928,

Amani, 3000 feet [c. 915 m], Usambara Mts, Tanzania


Hitherto treated as conspecific with I. rufipennis, but differs in its somewhat larger bill and notably longer tail (effect size 3.7; score 2); pale grey vs buffy breast (2); and, in song, greater frequency range of notes (3); much shorter length of longest note (3); and greater average number of notes per phrase (ns[3])#R. Birds from Pugu Hills (and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve), in Tanzania, sometimes separated as race puguensis. Monotypic.


NE Tanzania, including Zanzibar.

Descriptive notes

12·5–14 cm; 25–29 g. Adult is comparatively large-billed and generally dark, dull olive-brown above, becoming slightly greyer over head-sides and contrasting with white... read more


Commonly utters a slow human-like whistle, often preceded by a softer, short note “(twik) wureet... read more


Dense undergrowth in primary and secondary humid broadleaf lowland, transition and montane... read more

Food and feeding

Diet not studied, but presumably very similar to that of I. rufipennis. Forages on or close to ground, below 5 m. Moves steadily... read more


Season unknown beyond Dec. Nest said to be a deep cup constructed of dead leaves, with an external diameter of 80 mm, external depth 70 mm... read more


Resident. Two records from SC & SW Kenya of birds showing at least some morphological... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population considered to be stable. Generally considered to be fairly common, especially in the East Usambara Mts, less numerous in... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Grey-breasted Illadopsis (Illadopsis distans). 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 18 January 2019).