Species profile

Chestnut-crowned Babbler

Chestnut-crowned Babbler

Range and abundance

The Chestnut-crowned Babbler is an uncommon bird inhabiting the interior of south-eastern Australia: northern Victoria, western NSW, south-western Queensland and south-eastern South Australia.


Adult Chestnut-crowned Babblers are 21-23 cm in length and weigh about 60 g. Birds are dark brown with a narrow white eyebrow line and a white throat and belly. The top of the head is capped with chestnut brown, the tail is tipped white and they have white bars on the wings. The bill is long, narrow and down-curved.


Chestnut-crowned Babblers prefer woodlands and shrublands of mulga, mallee, acacia, cypress pine, lignum and saltbush. They are sociable birds and are usually seen in noisy chattering flocks of up to a dozen or more birds. They forage on the ground, feeding on insects by turning over leaf litter or digging in the soil whilst slowly hopping forward. They breed in cooperative family groups, and may be seen near their bulky globe-shaped communal nests, which are constructed from sticks and usually placed in upright forks of trees. Each group contains breeding pairs and subordinate birds which do not breed but which help to build the nest, provide food to the incubating female and defend the nest. The larger the group of birds, the more successful is their breeding.


Although relatively uncommon, the population of this species appears to be stable. Their group behaviour enables them to ward off threats such as predatory birds. However, widespread clearing of habitat, over-grazing by feral herbivores and predation by feral cats and foxes pose some threat to this species.

What is AWC doing?

AWC protects the habitat of the Chestnut-crowned Babbler at Bowra which has an active program of reducing numbers of feral predators. At Bowra, the birds are monitored throughout the year by the Birds Queensland.

Did you know:

Groups of Chestnut-crowned Babblers may nest in the same tree over several years, making a new nest each time - the old ones are often observed on the ground below the tree.