Arabian Babbler: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Read these interesting Arabian babbler facts to learn more about this bird, a species that has the ability of intentional and conscious communication!

The Arabian babbler (Argya squamiceps) was first sited in Cretzschmar, 1827. This group makes a dominant pair who produce the majority of the offspring and regulates the authority of the order, while the other members are observed to be strictly following them. This species also displays several cooperative behaviors; for example, researchers in ornithology (a subbranch of zoology, specifically pertaining to birds, in biology) have studied their behavior and noted that the babbler's walk and actions match the first-order criteria of intentional communication and the recipient's coordinated response. In view of their behavior, there have been comprehensive references based on studies pointing to the fact that these bird species show key criteria for prelinguistic communication matching the attention and cognitive capacity of human infants. These are some of the significant features of evolution. The observation in 2013 has provided data about the cooperative help that these birds provide to each other.

For more relatable content, check out these common swift facts and canyon wren facts for kids.

Arabian Babbler

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Plants, berries, insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

2.3-2.9 oz (64-83 gm)

How long are they?

10-11 in (26-29 cm)

How tall are they?

12.2-13.2 in ( 31-33.5 cm)

What do they look like?


Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Dry river beds, grasslands, savanna


Israel, Jordan, United Arab Emirates





Scientific Name

Argya squamiceps





Arabian Babbler Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Arabian babbler?

The Argya squamiceps, colloquially known as the Arabian babbler, is a bird.

What class of animal does the Arabian babbler belong to?

The Argya squamiceps, Arabian babblers, belong to the class of Aves. This bird's social behavior is similar to that of a human. The data collected from various observations show that they have the ability to communicate and understand each other on a much deeper level than that of other birds.

How many Arabian babblers are there in the world?

Arabian babblers are a common species of bird that have a habitat distribution range around Israel, Jordan, and the UAE, as well as other Arabian countries. The exact numbers are not yet clear, but the data collected by the researchers confirm that they are found in abundance.

Where does an Arabian babbler live?

The Argya squamiceps were first sighted in Cretzschmar, 1827. The distribution of the Arabian babblers ranges from eastern, southern, and western Arabia (mainly the United Arab Emirates) to Oman, Yemen, Jordan, and Israel. They might prefer to make their nest in the bushes or dense trees, especially in abandoned sites. Although they are mainly found residing in the Middle East, they can also be found in the arid regions of India as well as North and East Africa.

What is an Arabian babbler habitat?

The Argya squamiceps prefer settling in arid scrublands, savanna, and dry river beds with minimal tree and bush coverage within its habitat range of eastern, western and southern Arabia, specifically in Israel and the United Arab Emirates. For their nest, the Argya squamiceps build a cup-shaped nest in the thick bushes and trees.

Who do Arabian babblers live with?

Argya squamiceps tend to live in groups in a defined territory in which they reside and defend. Their group might consist of two to ten individuals. Their site of residence depends on the population of their group. Typically, within the cooperative flock, there are helpers in the flock who might not take part in the breeding, but they play an active role in the incubation of the eggs when the parents are not present to feed the chicks.

How long does an Arabian babbler live?

In the wild, the Argya squamiceps might have a lifespan range of 5-10 years. It has, however, been noticed that they live longer when they are kept captive. These species might live up to 16 years, as observed in some instances.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the Arabian babbler starts from February to April, and their breeding mostly depends on the seasonal rainfall, which is essential for their food provision. The males and the females use sounds in the form of vocal calls to attract each other, and the mating pair then hide behind the bushes to mate. There are three to four eggs laid by the month of April or May. The family incubates the eggs in turns for 14 days until the eggs hatch. After the eggs hatch, the group members protect the chicks as well as bring food for the chicks and themselves. The group is very cooperative in supporting each other, just like a very close-knit family. However, the chicks might flee the group after they start flying or they might prefer to stay.

What is their conservation status?

The Arabian babbler's population range covers a large breadth of the land, including the eastern, southern, and western parts of the Arabian Peninsula. They are labeled under the conservative status of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are present in large numbers and are not near endangered.

Arabian Babbler Fun Facts

What do Arabian babblers look like?

The Arabian babbler, Argya squamiceps, has brown plumage with a whitish underside.

The Arabian babbler has gray-brown plumage with a paler belly. They have dark streaks on their feathers, and their throat is whitish. They have a long curved bill with strong legs and feet. They have a long tail and round wings, which guide them with navigation. They are medium in size, but their long tail makes them look a bit bigger.

How cute are they?

Arabian babblers could be considered cute medium-size birds. More than their appearance, their altruistic behavior is what makes them really cute! They are known for supporting each other as a community. Unlike other birds, they are wired to help each other with finding food, feeding the young (regardless if they are their babies!), and even helping to incubate other eggs.

How do they communicate?

The Arabian babbler has calls that include whistles, trills, and chattering. They make vocal calls to attract each other during mating, which can sometimes sound alarming as they are extremely high tones! Arabian babblers are known as passerine birds because of their song and habit of perching. They also use calls for interacting with and alarming other babblers who are far away. The younger birds are observed to have soft songs which are sometimes melodious. These vocalizations are created to attract the attention of other young ones towards any play and activity that might be taking place in the flock.

How big are the Arabian babblers?

The body of the Arabian babbler can range from 10-11 in (26-29 cm) long, and the length of their wings can range from 12.2-13.2 in ( 31-33.5 cm), which helps them with navigation. They are considered to be medium size.

How fast can an Arabian babbler fly?

They are slow in flight and are weak fliers. They have short round wings, which help them in navigation but are slow in flight and are weak fliers. Thus they do not travel long distances and migrate like the other babblers because they don't have strong wings.

How much does an Arabian babbler weigh?

The Arabian babbler has a weight range of about 2-3 oz (64-83 g). They are lightweight birds that mostly make their nests in trees, stay together, and help each other mutually.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The different sexes don't have any specific names are such, instead, they are referred to as the male Arabian blabber or female Arabian blabber.

What would you call a baby Arabian babbler?

A baby Arabian babbler is called a chick or juvenile babbler. Arabian babbler parents, as well as other members of their group, take care of, and feed, the chicks together when they are small. They stay in the nests until they learn to fly.

What do they eat?

Arabian babblers mostly feed on the ground as their diet includes different types of invertebrates, lizards, worms, geckos, snakes, and even plant materials like nectar and flowers. This species also love feeding on berries and seeds. They also eat snails and grasshoppers. They feed together in groups and may also feed one another out of care.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not at all dangerous, though they can be protective of their territory. Therefore they may display signs of aggression if another bird tries to invade their territory, although this is a natural survival instinct. It has also been noted that while these species live in a group, there may be the presence of a single or dual authority among them, with the rest of the members following them.

Would they make a good pet?

They might make a good pet as they are social birds. They generally live in a group, but if they are kept as pets, a pair of two should be considered. However, their social behavior is remarkable, and the researchers have proved that they pass the first order of intentional communication. This order means both the communicator and the recipient have a joint understanding. However, it is never recommended to keep wild animals as pets in captivity as they thrive and flourish when they are free in their natural environment.

Did you know...

The Arabian babbler was recently moved to the genus Argya in 2018, retaining its status as a passerine bird. However, this species was previously listed under the genus of Turdoides, but the publication of a molecular phylogenetic study which was recently done in 2018, made it clear that they belonged to the Argya genus. They have a particular social behavior like the human species: they dance and take baths together, give each other gifts, clean themselves as well as feed each other. Sometimes they might even get into a fight about who will help another babbler!

Are Arabian babbler cooperative breeders?

The Arabian babblers are a group of birds that are considered cooperative breeders. The birds stay in groups and defend their territories. Their group structure consists of few breeding pairs as well as non-breeding members who might or might not be related to this big family. The non-breeding members participate in taking care of the eggs and the young chicks by incubating the eggs, providing them with food, and defending them from predators.

When do Arabian babbler eggs hatch?

The eggs of the Argya squamiceps or the Arabian babblers hatch after an incubation period of 14 days, during which not only the parents but also the helpful non-breeding members take turns incubating. Even after the eggs hatch, the adults (be it the parents or the helper) provides the chicks with food. This might happen when the feeder is trying to replace the sentinels.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our black cuckoo facts and Anna's hummingbird facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Arabian babbler coloring pages.



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