Abbott’s Babbler

on 30th September 2021

I am always surprised at how many pairs of Abbott’s Babblers (Malacocincla abbotti olivacea) there are in overgrown, secondary growth locations all over the city. I spent 50 minutes with one pair today and after a while they tolerated my presence while they foraged, as well as continued their vocal duet. The presumed male is shown above and below. Note the tail in the image below.

The presumed female in particular came very close, within focal distance. I identified the presumed male and female based on social behaviour and vocalisation. The male was less confiding and led the vocal antiphonal duet. There is little to differentiate them in appearance (as mentioned in literature) except the female did look a little smaller (Wells 2007; Pierce, Pobprasert and Gale 2004, The Wilson Bulletin) but this is subjective in the field.

The presumed female is shown above and below.

Foraging was not on the ground but ranging from 1 to 9 meters above the ground. Most of their prey was obtained by checking under living leaves. They did investigate dead, curled up leaves hanging on trees but this was not the norm. Most prey taken was small insects (unidentified on this occasion). The presumed male had moulting wing tail feathers and had a two toned tail colour.

Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Secondary growth in the city

Date: 2nd February 2020

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone



If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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