Species profile

Hall's Babbler

Hall's Babbler

Range and abundance

Hall’s Babbler is restricted to the mulga lands of south-western and south-central Queensland and far north-western New South Wales. It is uncommon within this range.

Description

An adult bird is 22-24 cm in length. They are dark blackish-brown with a broad white eyebrow line, and a short white throat bib which stops at the top of the belly. The top of the head is capped with black, and the tail is tipped white. Their bill is long, narrow and down-curved.

Ecology

Hall’s Babblers prefer dry rocky ridges and slopes that support Mulga or other shrubs, or open plains with sparse stunted trees. They are sociable birds and are usually seen in noisy chattering flocks of up to 20 birds. They usually forage on the ground as a flock, feeding on insects by turning over leaf litter, probing dead wood and turning over stones. Occasionally they forage on the trunks and branches of trees, moving down the tree as they feed. During breeding they break up into smaller groups consisting of a breeding pair 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 nest is constructed of sticks with a dome-shaped roof and side entrance, and is built in shrubs and trees about 5m off the ground. Several nests are often constructed but only one is used for breeding.

Threats

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 Hall’s Babbler at Bowra, and has an active program of reducing numbers of feral predators. The birds are monitored throughout the year by Birds Queensland.

Did you know:

The Hall’s Babbler was only recently recognised as a separate Babbler species in the 1960s, making it one of the most recent Australian birds to be described. It is named after the Australian-born philanthropist Major Harold Wesley Hall, who funded expeditions to collect specimens for the British Museum.