Family Rail-babbler (Eupetidae)

Near Threatened

Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus)


French: Eupète à longue queue German: Rallenflöter Spanish: Zordala colilarga
Other common names: Malaysian Rail-babbler

Eupetes macrocerus


, 1831,

Padang, Sumatra


Original name was unjustifiably emended to “macrocercus” and this version has been used extensively; Temminck himself emended name to “macrourus” (in 1835), and this name handwritten may have been misread/miscopied as “macrocerus” in original publication. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. m. macrocerus Temminck, 1831 – S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and N Natuna Is.
  • E. m. borneensis Robinson & Kloss, 1921 – Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–30 cm; 66–72 g. Distinctive, with long neck and tail; broad white supercilium from front of eye and extending down side of neck, bordered below by broad black... read more


    Song, usually starting with two or three soft clucks (detectable only at very close range),... read more


    Tall primary forest and logged forest with closed canopy, layered structure and well-vegetated to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including cicadas (Cicadidae) and beetles (Coleoptera); also spiders (Araneae). Terrestrial; walks on forest floor, dashes over... read more


    Eggs in late Jan or early Feb, and fledgling seen in Jun. Nest a shallow, loosely constructed cup of plant fibres; one described as built c... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Scarce to fairly common over most of range; locally numerous. Rare in Taman Negara National Park, in Peninsular... read more

    Recommended citation

    Boles, W. (2019). Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus). 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 18 February 2019).