Family Scimitar-babblers and allies (Timaliidae)

Least Concern

Grey-hooded Babbler (Cyanoderma bicolor)


French: Timalie bicolore German: Zweifarb-Buschtimalie Spanish: Timalí bicolor

T[imalia]. bicolor


, 1865,

no locality = Labuan (off north-west Borneo)


Has sometimes been placed in Macronus. Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. erythropterum, but differs in its dark grey vs dull grey-tinged rufous crown and mantle (3); rich chestnut vs grey-tinged dark rufous back (2); darker grey throat to mid-belly with dark greyish-ochre vs greyish-buff flanks (2); and song with distinct pause after first note (3)#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. b. bicolor (Blyth, 1865) – N Borneo (including Banggi I).
  • C. b. rufum Chasen & Kloss, 1927 – S Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 12–14 g. Small babbler with dark grey and rich chestnut plumage. Nominate race has entire head (except for broad blue orbital skin and lores) to uppermost mantle,... read more


    Song a fairly soft piping whistle of 7–10 or more notes with distinct pause after first note, “chu... read more


    Forest, mainly primary and tall secondary evergreen forest, also selectively logged forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including e.g. small beetles (Coleoptera), ants (Formicidae), hemipteran bugs, also orthopterans; some fruits taken. Forages... read more


    Breeds Mar–Jul and Oct–Nov. Nest built by both sexes, but observations of up to four birds building single nest. Nest a loose dome with... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common in lowland forests throughout its large range. Common in Danum Valley Conservation Area (Sabah), where... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Grey-hooded Babbler (Cyanoderma bicolor). 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 17 February 2019).