Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Pale-breasted Illadopsis (Illadopsis rufipennis)


French: Akalat à poitrine blanche German: Grauwangen-Laubdrossling Spanish: Tordina pechipálida
Other common names: Pale-breasted Thrush-babbler

Trichastoma rufipennis


, 1872,



Was formerly often placed in genus Malacocincla or Trichastoma. Has been thought to be close to I. pyrrhoptera, normally occurring at lower altitudes than latter in areas of sympatry in E of range. Genetic data indicate possibility that more than one species is involved#R. Hitherto treated as conspecific with I. distans. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. r. extrema (Bates, 1930) – Sierra Leone E to Ghana.
  • I. r. rufipennis (Sharpe, 1872) – S & E Nigeria E to SW Central African Republic, Congo, NW Angola, NE DRCongo, S Uganda, extreme NW Tanzania and W & SW Kenya.
  • I. r. bocagei (Salvadori, 1903) – Bioko.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; 18–32 g. Nominate race has crown, lores, cheek, upperparts and tail dark rufous-brown (crown sometimes greyer in E of range), very slight pale eyering,... read more


    Song, singly or as duet or trio, all year in Gabon (less intensively in long dry season), very... read more


    Dense undergrowth in primary and secondary humid broadleaf lowland, transition and montane... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small invertebrates and their eggs, including moths and caterpillars (Lepidoptera), crickets (Orthoptera), beetles including elaterid... read more


    Season Oct–Feb in Sierra Leone, Jun–Jan in Liberia, Dec–Mar in Ghana, Dec–May and Jul–Aug in Cameroon, Jun... read more


    Resident. Four ringed individuals recaptured at ringing sites two, seven and 14 months later; two... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common in Sierra Leone (e.g. Gola Forest) and SE Guinea. Although described as uncommon at Mt Nimba and in Yapo Forest, in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Robson, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Pale-breasted Illadopsis (Illadopsis rufipennis). 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 21 January 2019).