Family Australasian Babblers (Pomatostomidae)

Least Concern

Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis)


French: Pomatostome à calotte grise German: Grauscheitelsäbler Spanish: Gárrulo coronigrís

[Pomatorhinus] Temporalis

Vigors and Horsfield

, 1827,

Shoalwater Bay, Queensland, Australia


Races sometimes considered to represent two separate species, and may be genetically divergent: rubeculus is smaller (effect size for male wing −2.13; score 2), with rufous-brown vs whitish breast (but some tendency in some populations of nominate towards rufous; hence only 1); unclear zone of intergradation or hybridization (possibly 2) supposedly in W Queensland; thus species status approached, but analysis of available recordings indicates that vocalizations are similar and hard to distinguish#R. Geographical variation largely clinal, size becoming larger and plumage greyer from W to N & E, and a dozen races sometimes recognized; other proposed races include strepitans (lowland S New Guinea), nigrescens (NW Western Australia), intermedius (N Western Australia E to arid interior Queensland and N South Australia), bamba (Melville I), brownei (Cape Arnhem Peninsula), mountfordae (Groote Eylandt), cornwalli (coastal NE Queensland S to Cairns), trivirgatus (coasts of S Queensland and New South Wales) and tregellasi (SE South Australia E to SE New South Wales). Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. t. temporalis (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827) – Grey-crowned Babbler – S New Guinea (Trans-Fly region) and E & SE Australia.
  • P. t. rubeculus (Gould, 1840) – Rufous-breasted Babbler – NW, N & C Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    23–27 cm; 60–85 g. Distinctive large pomatostomid with broad supercilium, white or rufous breast, and prominent rufous patch on wing (concealed when wing closedt... read more


    Various harsh chattering contact notes; distinctive “ya-hoo” antiphonal duet by... read more


    Open native forests and woodlands, typically dominated by mature gums or ironbarks (Eucalyptus... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insects, including weevils (Curculionidae) and other beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), bugs (Hemiptera), butterfly... read more


    Recorded in Dec and Feb in New Guinea and in all months, but mainly Jul–Feb, in Australia. Breeds co-operatively, in groups... read more


    Sedentary, but some evidence for local movements or nomadism. Almost all recoveries are from within... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to scarce. Estimated population densities 0·08–0·6 birds/ha; in SE Queensland, 33 groups recorded... read more

    Recommended citation

    Matthew, J. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis). 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 May 2019).