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Aves bird of the week – Southern Pied Babbler – Turdoides bicolor

Southern Pied Babbler

The Southern Pied Babbler - Turdoides bicolor - is endemic to Southern Africa. It is locally common in arid and semi-arid savanna woodland across northern Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and northern South Africa.


The head is white, while the bill is black and the eyes orange/yellow. Throat is white, brown legs with a white back. Overall white with a black bill, tail and wings.


Has a distinctive harsh, chattering call.


Food consists of a variety of insects supplemented with small reptiles and amphibians, foraging in groups on the ground, flicking away leaves and twigs in search of prey.


They are cooperative breeders which live in year-round groups of 3 to 15 birds. The nest is built by all group members and is typically placed in a fork in the center of a thorny tree. Eggs are laid from August to April and 2 to 5 eggs are laid, which are incubated for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by all group members. They leave the nest after 16 days and remain dependent on the group for about 10 more weeks. Inbreeding avoidance – Southern Pied Babblers - individuals appear to avoid inbreeding through two routes. First, through dispersal itself: although both males and females disperse locally, they move outside the range within which genetically similar individuals are usually found, going twice as far from natal groups as from non-natal groups. Second, through avoidance of familiar group members as mates: individuals inherit a dominant position in the natal group only when an unrelated breeding partner is present.

Conservation Status – Least Concern

This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, the species is described as locally common to very common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, but it is not considered threatened at present.


Ask Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures to create an Aves custom tour for you or book on one of the following Aves Birding Tours/Safaris/Adventures: -

Aves North West Birding Tour / Safari / Adventure.


Roberts - Birds of southern Africa.

The Bird Guide of Southern Africa



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