Family Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)

Least Concern

Sulawesi Babbler (Trichastoma celebense)


French: Akalat des Célèbes German: Weißkehl-Mausdrossling Spanish: Tordina de Célebes

Trichostoma [sic] celebense


, 1849,



Geographical variation partly clinal; proposed races connectens, from NC Sulawesi, and improbatum (of which sordidum is a synonym), from SE, considered to represent part of this cline, and therefore merged with rufofuscum. Race finschi, however, distinctive: differs in its much more restricted white throat (2) and fulvous-buff vs greyish-white lower throat to vent, without contrasting darker flanks (3); study of voice, and what happens where this form and rufofuscum approach each other, therefore encouraged. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. c. celebense Strickland, 1849 – Sulawesi Babbler – N Sulawesi (including islands of Manterawu, Bangka and Lembeh).
  • T. c. togianense (Voous, 1952) – Togian Is (N Sulawesi).
  • T. c. rufofuscum (Stresemann, 1931) – C & SE Sulawesi, including Butung I.
  • T. c. finschi Walden, 1876 – Makassar Babbler – SW Sulawesi.
  • Descriptive notes

    15·5 cm. Smallish, relatively featureless babbler with strong bill and thin malar whisker, strikingly but mostly clinally varied in coloration. Nominate race has crown... read more


    Main song consists of short variable phrases of liquid fluty melancholy whistles, including “... read more


    Primary broadleaf evergreen forest, selectively logged and disturbed primary forest, forest on... read more

    Food and feeding

    Presumably invertebrates. Forages close to or on ground, with mouse-like runs, on fallen trees and in dense scrub; has been observed also... read more


    Apr–Dec. Nest a cup of dead leaves and grass blades, placed 0·3–0·5 m above ground. Clutch 2 eggs, greenish-white with reddish... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread, especially at lower elevations. Very common in all habitats at Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, commonly heard (if rarely seen)... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Robson, C. (2019). Sulawesi Babbler (Trichastoma celebense). 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 April 2019).