The dark-fronted babbler (Dumetia atriceps) is a species in the group of Old World babblers found in India and Sri Lanka. Old World babblers are a family of passerine birds having soft and fluffy plumage. They are only found in tropical areas, with the most population and variety in southeast Asia. The dark-fronted babbler is a resident breeding bird in the Western Ghats of Southern India and also Sri Lanka. The birds are always found in groups and flocks in the undergrowth of dense forest and bamboo jungle.
There are four known subspecies of the dark-fronted babbler - Dumetia atriceps atriceps from west to south India, Dumetia atriceps bourdilloni from southwest to south India, Dumetia atriceps siccata from the north and east Sri Lanka, and Dumetia atriceps nigrifrons from southwest Sri Lanka.
Identification of the dark-fronted babbler can be characterized by a small body, chestnut-brown plumage, a dark black cap, a white-colored underside, and pale yellow-colored iris. The presence of the birds in the forests can easily be heard with their continuous calls and also by the alarm calls when disturbed. As the dark-fronted babbler has short rounded wings and a weak flight, it is not known to be a migratory bird. The two subspecies D.a. atriceps and D.a. bourdilloni have black hoods, whereas, the subspecies D.a. siccata and D.a. nigrifrons have a dark bandit mask.
Brown above and white below and square-tipped tail
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Undergrowth of forests, subtropical/tropical mangrove vegetation above high tide level, and shrubland
India and Sri Lanka
Dark-fronted Babbler Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a dark-fronted babbler?
The dark-fronted babbler is a species of babbler birds found in the Western Ghats of India and forests of Sri Lanka.
What class of animal does a dark-fronted babbler belong to?
The dark-fronted babbler (Dumetia atriceps) falls under the class of Aves in the kingdom of Animalia. The species is part of the family Timaliidae. The bird is also known by the scientific name Rhopocichla atriceps.
How many dark-fronted babblers are there in the world?
The population of the species is not known. However, the dark-fronted babbler is found abundant in its habitat in India and Sri Lanka and there is no cause for concern at the moment. The area of occurrence of these birds is spread across 156371.3 sq mi (405,000 sq km).
Where does a dark-fronted babbler live?
The dark-fronted babbler is a resident breeding bird from the Western Ghats of India and the dense forests of Sri Lanka. There are four subspecies of the bird found - two in India and the other two in Sri Lanka. The two subspecies of India are found in west, south, and southwest India while the other two subspecies of Sri Lanka are seen in the north, east, and southwest Sri Lanka.
What is a dark-fronted babbler's habitat?
The habitat range of the species includes dense undergrowth of forests, forest edge, reedbeds, densely vegetated weedy fields. They are also found in the cultivation areas from lowlands up into montane regions. The birds can be seen in the area with constant calls by the flocks. The Sri Lankan subspecies siccata is found in lower elevation areas while the nigrifrons are found in wet areas.
Who do dark-fronted babblers live with?
The dark-fronted babbler birds are always found in flocks making calls continuously or uttering alarming calls when in danger.
How long does a dark-fronted babbler live?
The lifespan of the species is not known. The jungle babbler, another species of babbler, has a long-lived lifespan of around 17 years in captivity.
How do they reproduce?
The breeding season of the dark-fronted babbler is from May to July. The nest of the species is often a ball of bamboo leaves. The nest is built in the low down in a bush. The usual average clutch of the dark-fronted babbler is two eggs. There are other dormitory nests too where the birds roost. However, the dormitory nests are not lined.
What is their conservation status?
The conservation status of the dark-fronted babbler is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. The distribution of this bird of the genus Dumetia is quite widespread and there is no immediate danger to the population of the birds. However, like all animals in the world, habitat loss has always been a cause for concern and needs to be protected at any cost.
Dark-fronted Babbler Fun Facts
What do dark-fronted babblers look like?
The dark-fronted babbler has a small-sized body which is brown above and white below. The bird has a variable dark black head. The subspecies from India have dark black hoods, while the Sri Lankan ones have a lighter dark bandit mask. The pale yellow iris is common in both regions. Bourdilloni has a duller black head and brownish underside. The upper parts are colored olive. Atriceps has a dark black hood. Siccata from Sri Lanka has more olive coloration on the upper parts while the Nigrifrons are rufescent on the upper parts. The short rounded wings make the dark-fronted babbler have a weak flight.
How cute are they?
They can be considered quite cute with their minimal plumage.
How do they communicate?
A dark-fronted babbler is always found in flocks where it is marked by continuous calls. The birds are seen making alarming calls when threatened.
As they live in the undergrowth of forests, the birds remain inconspicuous. However, we know the babblers are noisy and their calls can be heard throughout the area. This is the best indication of the presence of this bird in the forest.
How big is a dark-fronted babbler?
The dark-fronted babbler is up to 5.12 in (13 cm) long. The bee hummingbird, the world's smallest bird, in comparison just has a length of around 2.1-2.4 in (5.3-6 cm).
How fast can a dark-fronted babbler fly?
The speed is unknown. However, due to the rounded wings they possess, they have a weak flight in them.
How much does a dark-fronted babbler weigh?
Their weight is not known.
What are the male and female names of the species?
Males and females of the birds are not given different names.
What would you call a baby dark-fronted babbler?
The baby of a dark-fronted babbler is called young.
What do they eat?
The main diet of the dark-fronted babbler includes insects. The jungle babbler found also in India has a range within its diet. It includes insects like grasshoppers, ants, wasps, cockroaches, termites, beetles, moths, crickets, spiders, caterpillars, and flies.
Are they friendly?
They stay in flocks, so they can be considered sociable and friendly.
Would they make a good pet?
They are not usually considered pets.
Did you know...
Found in the undergrowth of forests, these birds eat mostly insects.
What noise does the dark-fronted babbler make?
The call is noisy and can be heard throughout the forest. Although the birds remain inconspicuous, characteristic rattling churr alarm calls can be heard when threatened.
Do dark-fronted babblers migrate?
No, like most babblers, the dark-fronted babbler does not migrate.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.