Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Scaly Babbler (Turdoides squamulata)


French: Cratérope maillé German: Schuppenschwatzhäherling Spanish: Turdoide escamado

Crateropus squamulatus


, 1884,

Mombasa, Kenya


Birds from R Webbe Gestro, in S Ethiopia, thought to represent an undescribed race, and those from S Ethiopia–NE Kenya border region (Lak Bor watercourse, R Daua) another such; in each case, however, the possibility of hybrid origin evidently not yet excluded (R Webbe Gestro birds uniform brown above, brownish-white below, iris red; Lak Bor birds intermediate between jubaensis and carolinae in extent of white on head). Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. s. carolinae Ash, 1981 – SE Ethiopia and adjacent SC Somalia (R Shebelle).
  • T. s. jubaensis van Someren, 1931 – S Ethiopia and adjacent S Somalia (R Jubba).
  • T. s. squamulata (Shelley, 1884) – extreme S Somalia, SE Kenya and adjacent NE Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–23 cm; 55–85 g. Smallish Turdoides babbler with grey-scaled blackish head and white-scaled greyish breast, orange eye. Male of nominate race has crown... read more


    Chorus song “gagagagagagaga…”, reportedly one of the most grating and toneless sounds made by any... read more


    Dense coastal bush, woodland undergrowth, thickets along rivers, scrub; to 500 m in Kenya.

    Food and feeding

    No information on diet; presumably mainly invertebrates, berries and seeds. Occurs in skulking groups of up to five individuals.


    Apr in Kenya; nest-building in Oct in Somalia; Jul–Aug in Ethiopia. Eggs pale blue. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common within often circumscribed habitat along rivers in Somalia; race carolinae at risk from habitat deterioration. Locally common... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Scaly Babbler (Turdoides squamulata). 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).