Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Near Threatened

Large Wren-babbler (Turdinus macrodactylus)


French: Grande Turdinule German: Graubauchdrossling Spanish: Ratina grande

Malacopteron macrodactylum


, 1844,

Malacca, Peninsular Malaysia


Race lepidopleura listed in HBW as lepidopleurus, but original is a noun phrase and therefore indeclinable. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. m. macrodactylus (Strickland, 1844) – S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia.
  • T. m. beauforti Voous, 1950 – #RSumatra.
  • T. m. lepidopleura (Bonaparte, 1850) – Java.
  • Possibly (race unknown) in Bali#R, but record requires confirmation.

    Descriptive notes

    19–20·5 cm; 52–58 g. Fairly large, streaky brown babbler with white throat and greyish underparts. Nominate race has crown to back streaked light brown and... read more


    Song very variable. Usually consists of short loud clear whistled phrases, repeated every few... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, selectively logged forest, bamboo forest, “rubber jungle”; favours... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates. Found singly, in pairs or small parties. Forages on or close to ground (but sings from higher perches, up to c. 5 m or more... read more


    Dec–Jul in SE Asia and Mar and Sept on W Java. Nest a large cup made of dead leaves, lined with thin layer of twigs, roots and hair,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Uncommon to fairly common in S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia; extinct in Singapore. A Sundaic lowland-forest... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Large Wren-babbler (Turdinus macrodactylus). 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 25 April 2019).