Bird of the month: Capuchin Babbler

One of the rarest and most uncommon birds in The Gambia; much more West African Countries is Capuchin Babbler or Turfoides atopennis.
A chunky, short-tailed babbler has a brown body, a yellowish bill and legs and a mostly grey head. The amount of black and grey on the throat and crown differ geographically. Unmistakable if seen well.
A family group of five to twelve birds are residents skulking in the undergrowth and tangles of the forest, secondary growth and riparian thickets in Savannah. Group mostly communicate with harsh grating calls and chattering, but occasionally give whimsical high-pitch, down slurred thrust – whistle wheeeer.
Photo Credit: Ignacio Morales Dolores -

SPECIES: Capuchin babbler is a species of bird in the family Leiothrichidae.

DIET: Capuchin babbler’s diet is poorly unknown but believed to be largely insectivorous, although the species has been observed peaking at fruit forage.

POPULATION JUSTIFICATION: The population size has not been quantified but is suspected of undergoing a moderately rapid population decline based on the forest clearance rate for agriculture and timber.

THREATS: Agriculture

STRESS: Ecosystem degradation

TREND JUSTIFICATION: The species is suspected to be decking in line with habitat loss.

HABITAT: dense scrub and undergrowth of secondary and gallery forests, forest edges, patches and Savana.

DISTRIBUTION: Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa.

Lucky Gambia
Capuchin Babbler is a scarce resident of The Gambia, very rare and even rather shy. This species of rare bird is found in the coastal areas of Gunjur. All interested bird watchers to the Gambia are welcome to do birding with me to share my experience with you.
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