Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Near Threatened

Rufous-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron magnum)


French: Akalat géant German: Rotscheitel-Zweigdrossling Spanish: Tordina magna

Malacopteron magnum


, 1839,

Peninsular Malaysia


Sometimes thought to be possibly conspecific with M. palawanense. Potential geographic variation in song requires research#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. magnum Eyton, 1839 – extreme S Myanmar (extreme S Tenasserim), S Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, N Natuna Is and Borneo (except N).
  • M. m. saba Chasen & Kloss, 1930 – N Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19·5 cm; 20–36 g. Mid-sized olive-brown and greyish hook-billed babbler with dull rufous crown, black nape and rufous-tinged tail. Nominate race has... read more


    Song consists of three main parts: first part a series of clear well-spaced notes, “phu-phu-... read more


    Primary broadleaf evergreen forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, disturbed and selectively logged... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including black beetles (Coleoptera), soft greenish insects, grasshoppers (Orthoptera), ants (Formicidae); some seeds. Forages... read more


    Mar–May in SE Asia; May–Jun on Sumatra; on Borneo, Aug–Sept in Sarawak and Mar, May–Jul and Oct in Sabah. Nest... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Uncommon to fairly common from S Myanmar and S Thailand into Peninsular Malaysia; less common than M.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Rufous-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron magnum). 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).