Rufous babbler

Garritornis isidorei

TAXONOMY

Pomatorhinus isidorei Lesson, 1827, Dorei Harbor (Manokwari, Cendrawasi). Two subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: New Guinea babbler, Isidore's babbler; French: Po-matostome Isidore; German: Beutelsabler; Spanish: Hablantín de Isidore.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Slender, medium-sized pseudo babbler, 9-10 in (23-25 cm); 2.2-2.6 oz (65-75 g). Adults and immature birds are uniformly rich russet-brown all over, with yellowish bill and dusky feet; eyes are pale cream in adults, brown in immature birds.

DISTRIBUTION

All lowland New Guinea and Misool Island up to about 1,500 ft (500 m) altitude.

HABITAT

Interior lower stages and floor of primary and tall secondary rainforest, usually within 33-49 ft (10-15 m) of ground.

BEHAVIOR

In permanent territorial groups of usually 5-10 birds, mixing with other species in foraging parties in under-shrubbery and low trees, traveling quickly by powerful hopping. Groups tight and call continually with soft and loud whistles, rasps, and yodels. They apparently roost communally at night in one nest that is used for a season.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages mainly by probing bark and crannies on trunks and branchlets of forest substage but also digs in litter of jungle floor. Diet includes a range of arthropods; small reptiles also taken.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Poorly documented. Nests are pensile, massively elongate, and slung from the ends of fronds (usually rattan palms) at 10-26 ft (3-8 m) above the forest floor. Nests are built by the senior pair and helpers. The clutch, probably incubated by the female alone, is usually of two eggs, about 1.1 by 0.7 in (28 by 18 mm), and scribbled all over as in other pseudo babblers. Both parents, at least, feed the young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Some totemic significance for some lowland tribal groups in New Guinea. ♦

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