Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Moustached Babbler (Malacopteron magnirostre)


French: Akalat moustachu German: Bartstreif-Zweigdrossling Spanish: Tordina bigotuda

Alcippe magnirostris

F. Moore

, 1854,

Malacca, Peninsular Malaysia


Has been suggested that because race cinereocapilla exhibits vocal and plumage differences from nominate, and equally strong vocal differences and unconfirmed indications of mitochondrial DNA divergence occur among cinereocapilla populations (Sabah vs rest of Borneo), with an unnamed form involved, that three species-level taxa might be involved#R. Proposed race flavum (from Anambas Is) merged with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. magnirostre (F. Moore, 1854) – Malay Moustached Babbler – extreme S Myanmar, W & S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia (including Tioman I), Anambas Is, Singapore and Sumatra (including Musala I and Lingga Archipelago#R).
  • M. m. cinereocapilla (Salvadori, 1868) – Bornean Moustached Babbler – Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–18 cm; 16–25 g. Plain hook-billed babbler, dull brown above and whitish below, with dark submoustachial area and dull chestnut tail. Nominate race has... read more


    Song a series of usually 3–6 well-spaced, clear, sweet whistled notes, “tii-tu-ti-tu” or “ti-... read more


    Primary broadleaf evergreen forest, peatswamp-forest, regenerating forests, heavily and selectively... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including black beetles (Coleoptera) and locustids. Forages mostly in midstorey, at average height 4–6 m, but in depauperate... read more


    Feb–Aug in SE Asia and on Sumatra, Apr–May in Singapore; Oct–Jan (at least) and breeding-condition birds May in N Borneo... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in most of range. Rare in Singapore. Locally fairly common on Borneo and Sumatra, but common in Sabah. Present in Khao Pra-... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Moustached Babbler (Malacopteron magnirostre). 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 20 April 2019).