Family Scimitar-babblers and allies (Timaliidae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler (Pomatorhinus superciliaris)


French: Pomatorhin à bec fin German: Dünnschnabelsäbler Spanish: Cimitarra picofina
Other common names: Sickle-billed Scimitar-babbler

X[iphirhynchus]. superciliaris


, 1842,

Darjeeling, India


Previously separated in Xiphirhynchus, but embedded within present genus#R. Birds in C Yunnan (SC China) not yet assigned to race. Race intextus sometimes subsumed into nominate#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. superciliaris (Blyth, 1842) – C & E Nepal E to NE India (C Arunachal Pradesh).
  • P. s. intextus (Ripley, 1948) – NE India (E Arunachal Pradesh S to Nagaland, adjacent S Assam, Manipur and Mizoram) and W & NW Myanmar.
  • P. s. forresti (Rothschild, 1926) – NE Myanmar and S China (NW Yunnan).
  • P. s. rothschildi (Delacour & Jabouille, 1930) – N Vietnam (Tonkin).
  • Descriptive notes

    20 cm; 27–30 g. Drab brown babbler with darkish grey head, white supercilium and astonishingly long, slender and decurved bill. Nominate race has crown and nape slaty... read more


    Has two territorial calls: an extremely rapid, staccato, hollow piping “wuwuwuwuwuwu”... read more


    Bamboo thickets in temperate forest; damp broadleaf forest with thick undergrowth, stunted oak... read more

    Food and feeding

    Beetles (Coleoptera), ants (Formicidae) and other insects, larvae; also berries (including raspberries) and nectar. Found in small,... read more


    Apr–Jul in India. Nest described as a large globular structure with entrance at one end, or blunt cone on its side with entrance at... read more


    Resident, but seasonal altitudinal displacements reported within Bhutan; similar report in NE India... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Scarce throughout range. In Bhutan commonest in E, becoming rare in W; densities apparently low, e.g. fewer than 0·1 pair/km of road. Uncommon in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Slender-billed Scimitar-babbler (Pomatorhinus superciliaris). 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 23 February 2019).