Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Streaked Wren-babbler (Turdinus brevicaudatus)


French: Turdinule à queue courte German: Stutzschwanzdrossling Spanish: Ratina colicorta

T[urdinus]. brevicaudatus


, 1855,

Mulayit Taung, Amherst district, Tenasserim, Myanmar


Previously placed in Napothera. Has been thought to be possibly conspecific with T. crassus. Races remarkably diverse within rather narrow phenotypic confines, forming as many as five groups: (a) nominate and striatus (rufous below, broad throat-streaks); (b) stevensi and proximus (dark rich brown below, less distinct throat-streaks); (c) leucostictus (broad throat- and breast-streaks, to belly); (d) griseigularis (smallish with very vague throat-streaks, paler breast and belly); and (e) rufiventer (apparently richer rufous below with buff vs white wing-spots); however, vocally all groups appear very similar#R. Birds in N & E Myanmar and W Yunnan (China) sometimes separated as race venningi, supposedly larger and more rufous, but fall within range of variation of nominate. Racial identity of birds in NW Laos uncertain, conditionally included in nominate. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. b. striatus Walden, 1871 – NE India S of R Brahmaputra (including SE Arunachal Pradesh) and NW Myanmar.
  • T. b. brevicaudatus Blyth, 1855 – Burmese Streaked Wren-babbler – S China (W Yunnan), NE, E & SE Myanmar (including N Tenasserim), NW, W & N Thailand, and NW Laos.
  • T. b. stevensi (Kinnear, 1925) – Tonkin Streaked Wren-babbler – S China (SE Yunnan E to W Guangxi), NE & C Laos and N Vietnam (Tonkin, N Annam).
  • T. b. proximus (Delacour, 1930) – S Laos and C Vietnam (C Annam).
  • T. b. leucostictus (Sharpe, 1887) – Malay Streaked Wren-babbler – S Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, including Tioman I.
  • T. b. griseigularis (Delacour & Jabouille, 1928) – Cambodian Streaked Wren-babbler – SE Thailand and SW Cambodia.
  • T. b. rufiventer (Delacour, 1927) – Annam Streaked Wren-babbler – S Annam (Vietnam).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–17 cm; 17·3–22·7 g. Smallish, rather short-tailed brown babbler with heavy blackish streaking above, dull below with streaked whitish throat and... read more


    Song consists of very variable, loud, clear, melancholy ringing whistles, repeated after intervals... read more


    Broadleaf evergreen forest, often near rocky outcrops; limestone areas outside the range of T.... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, grubs and small molluscs. Forages in pairs or small groups on ground, just above ground in dense or tangled vegetation, or around... read more


    Jan–Jul. Nest described as an upright dome with entrance near top, a semi-dome or a deep cup made of dead leaves, dead bracken,... read more


    Resident. Reports of some seasonal altitudinal movements require substantiation; other evidence... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common across range. Locally fairly common in NE hills of India, where fairly common in Namdapha National Park (Arunachal Pradesh). Local... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Streaked Wren-babbler (Turdinus brevicaudatus). 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 April 2019).