Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Rufous Chatterer (Argya rubiginosa)


French: Cratérope rubigineux German: Heuglinelsterhäherling Spanish: Turdoide herrumbroso
Other common names: Rusty Babbler

Crateropus rubiginosus


, 1845,

Shoa, Ethiopia


Races sharpii and emini previously listed under replacement names bowdleri and schnitzeri, respectively, due to homonymy within Turdoides; but original names restored, as homonymy is removed with transfer of this species to Argya. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. r. rubiginosa (Rüppell, 1845) – SE South Sudan, Ethiopia, NE Somalia, NE Uganda and Kenya (except SE).
  • A. r. sharpii Ogilvie-Grant & Reid, 1901 – SE Ethiopia and adjacent NE Kenya.
  • A. r. heuglini Sharpe, 1883 – S Somalia, SE Kenya and NE & E Tanzania.
  • A. r. emini Reichenow, 1907 – N & NC Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–23 cm; 33–61 g. Smallish Turdoides babbler, olive-brown above and yellowish-rufous below. Male nominate race has crown, upperparts, upperwing and tail... read more


    Chorus song involves group participation in presumed male song, more usually given alone: a... read more


    Mixed thorn and soft-leaved open forest, thickets in grassy Commiphora and Acacia... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly invertebrates, including termites (Isoptera); also mango and papaya rinds. Forages on ground in leaf litter under bushes, bounding... read more


    Aug, and feeding young in Jun, in Ethiopia and nest-building in Mar in Somalia; all year in E Africa, although Apr–Oct in Uganda;... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Frequent to common in Rift Valley and NE Ethiopian lowlands near Djibouti, and frequent in S. Common in SE Sudan and N Uganda. In Somalia, locally... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Rufous Chatterer (Argya rubiginosa). 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 24 February 2020).