Spiny Babbler: Only in Nepal

14, Sep 2022 | nepaltraveller.com

Spiny Babbler is the only indigenous bird that is native to Nepal

The greyish-brown Spiny Babbler (Turdoides nipalensis) is the exclusive bird that is native to Nepal, despite the fact that there are more than 800 different bird species dwelling in Nepal.

Spiny Babbler is a medium-sized, long-tailed Turdoides babbler with striking black spinous shafts on its throat, buff breast, and upper parts that are predominantly brown. It sporadically appears on the ground in low bushes and feeds on insects. The Spiny Babbler can be distinguished from other Turdoides by its glossy shafts, which are especially evident on its light colour in its thorax and belly part. Spiny Babbler has a cross-barred tail and measures around 26 cm (10 inches) in length.

The Spiny Babbler is a bird species in the Leiothrichidae family that can be found in the Kathmandu Valley, specifically in the Godavari and Phulchoki areas near Lalitpur.

Locally, Spiny Babbler is also known as Kande Bhyakur. Despite being mostly a timid bird, it can be spotted during the empirical phase of the breeding season when the males sing in the open. It dwells in deep underbrush and sings while mounted on bushes and small trees. Living alone or in small, isolated groups of 5 to 6 individuals, the spiny babbler is a solitary creature. The Spiny Babbler flies poorly.

Spiny Babbler feeds on caterpillars, specifically larvae of moths, as well as hairy caterpillars and moths. In addition, they imbibe grasshoppers, click, scarab, rove, and wireworm beetles, humblebees, ants, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and a variety of mollusks, particularly snails. Following the end of the breeding season, Spiny Babblers hunt for food and consume it in quick spurts, alternating with rest, preening, song, and roaming times. The frequency of feeding depends on the weather and the abundance of food.

The clearing of brush for agriculture and the growth of urban areas pose significant threats to it. It was apparently precisely described by Brian Houghton Hodgson in the mid-19th century, but it was never seen again and was even considered extinct until Sidney Dillon Ripley, an American ornithologist, spotted it in the late 1940s. Even though environmental deterioration is threatening this peculiar, well-adored bird, the Spiny Babbler has long fascinated ornithologists around the world.


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