Short-tailed Babbler

Scientific Name: Malacocincla malaccensis
Malay Name: Kekicau-Belukar Ekor Pendek

Identification: Song, head-pattern, proportionately long pink feet and short tail.

Size: 13.5-15.5cm

The Short-tailed Babbler is one of the resident ground babblers (Family Pellorneidae) in Thailand, Peninsula Malaysia including Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo. As the description implies, it tends to stay on the ground or perched very low in the undergrowth of the forest. In Singapore, is found in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

More often heard than seen, it is not exactly very skulky, but it’s most active before 9am. Its plaintive call is often part of the dawn chorus in suitable habitat. If one were to trek through Rifle Range Link in the early mornings, there is a good chance of encountering this bird either by the side of the trail or even in the middle of the trail if there is no one else around. Its tall leg is suited for hopping on the ground, and when it tries to perch on vertical stalks of plants, it has a rather distinctive gait.

While still common in Singapore, it is listed as a Near Threatened species elsewhere. Even in Singapore, habitat fragmentation and low genetic diversity are of great concern as the long-term viability of this species locally is questionable. In fact we have in the recent years lost the population in Singapore Botanic Gardens. More needs to be done to conserve this and other forest species before time runs out


Vocalization : xeno-canto Link
Other photos: Oriental Bird Images
Wikipedia Entry: Link

Wells (2007). The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Volume Two