Family Laughingthrushes and allies (Leiotrichidae)

Least Concern

Scaly Chatterer (Argya aylmeri)


French: Cratérope d’Aylmer German: Schuppenbrust-Elsterhäherling Spanish: Turdoide de Aylmer
Other common names: Bare-eyed Babbler

Argya aylmeri


, 1885,



Races boranensis, keniana and mentalis are all very similar, each exhibiting apparent colour variation; taxonomic reassessment perhaps warranted. Proposed race loveridgei (SE Kenya and extreme NE Tanzania) considered synonymous with keniana. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. aylmeri Shelley, 1885 – Somalia and SE Ethiopia.
  • A. a. boranensis#R Benson, 1947 – S Ethiopia and N Kenya.
  • A. a. keniana F. J. Jackson, 1910 – C & S Kenya and immediately adjacent NE Tanzania.
  • A. a. mentalis Reichenow, 1887 – NE & EC Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–23 cm; 31–42 g. Small Turdoides babbler with long graduated tail, grey-brown above with rusty crown, buff below with small scaling and spotting on... read more


    Chorus song unreported, but voice poorly known. Continuous mouse-like squeaking from foraging flock... read more


    Dense, arid thorn-scrub, woodland undergrowth, bushland, riverine thickets, tall thorn-brakes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet apparently unreported; presumably mainly invertebrates and small fruit and seeds. Found singly, in pairs or in small groups of 5... read more


    Mar–Apr and Aug–Sept in Ethiopia and Dec in N Tanzania. One nest described as a rather large, strong cup made of twigs and... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to uncommon. Very common (locally one of the commonest bird species) but patchily distributed in NW Somalia; uncommon in Ethiopia;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2020). Scaly Chatterer (Argya aylmeri). 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 22 February 2020).