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Orange-billed Babbler Turdoides rufescens
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small range that is declining and becoming increasingly fragmented as a result of human encroachment, although it is not yet regarded as severely fragmented. It remains common, but the situation should be carefully monitored for any future increases in the rate of wet-zone forest loss. It is currently considered Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Distribution and population
Turdoides rufescens is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is fairly common to common in the wet lowlands, usually rare on adjacent hills but occasionally common above 700 m.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common in wet lowlands and rare on adjacent hills (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

Trend justification
Some population declines are likely to be occurring as a result of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range, although the magnitude of these declines is poorly known. Nevertheless, a slow decline is suspected overall.

This species appears to be almost restricted to primary forest in some areas (usually where Yellow-billed Babbler T. affinis is present), but is sometimes common in selectively logged or secondary forest, scrub or tea plantations. It is a characteristic component of mixed-species flocks, with up to 45 individuals counted in a group. It is generally found in lowlands, but occurs locally up to 2,100 m.

Forest on Sri Lanka has suffered degradation and fragmentation in recent decades due to excessive gathering of fuelwood, clearance for permanent agriculture, shifting cultivation, fire, urbanisation and logging.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations and habitat trends across the range. Conduct ecological studies to determine precise habitat requirements and response to fragmentation. Protect significant areas of forest at key sites, in both strictly protected areas and community-led multiple use areas.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Mahood, S., Taylor, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Turdoides rufescens. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Orange-billed babbler (Turdoides rufescens)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Timaliidae (Babblers and parrotbills)
Species name author (Blyth, 1847)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 12,200 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species