Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Iraq Babbler (Argya altirostris)


French: Cratérope d’Irak German: Riedelsterhäherling Spanish: Turdoide iraquí

Crateropus caudatus altirostris

E. J. O. Hartert

, 1909,

Fao [Al Faw], at mouth of Shatt al Arab River, south-eastern Iraq




R Euphrates Plains and nearby wetlands from S Turkey (Birecik#R) across C Syria to SE Iraq (Euphrates–Tigris Delta) and adjacent SW Iran.

Descriptive notes

20–24 cm; mean 33 g. Relatively small but long-tailed Turdoides babbler with curved bill, softly streaked upperparts and plain white and buff underparts. Crown... read more


Song a musical sequence of “phist” and “phic” calls. Chorus call a... read more


Dense reedbeds, palm groves, date gardens, poplar trees (Populus euphratica) lining... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, mainly insects and spiders (Araneae). Food given to nestlings 60% insects, in descending order of importance grasshoppers (... read more


May in Turkey and Mar–Jul (mainly Apr–Jun) in C Iraq; two or three broods reared annually. Monogamous system; sometimes co-... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Mesopotamian Marshes EBA. Locally common. Common, for example, in provinces of Baghdad and Basra, in Iraq.

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Iraq Babbler (Argya altirostris). 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).