Chinese Babax

Chinese Babax
Chinese Babax Pterorhinus lanceolatus, Sichuan, China, July. (Craig Brelsford)

Range of Chinese Babax Pterorhinus lanceolatus covers most of south China as well as small parts of India and Burma. All three ssp. resident in China: lanceolatus southern Gansu and western Hubei across Red Basin in Sichuan and Chongqing to central Yunnan and northern Guizhou; latouchei southern Guizhou to Fujian; and bonvaloti western Sichuan, southeast Tibet, and northwest Yunnan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Open broadleaf evergreen forests (especially secondary forests), bamboo thickets, and hillside scrub, from 350–4265 m (1,150–13,990 ft.). Usually in small parties. Forages in undergrowth, but mornings and evenings often seen on treetops, whistling loudly. ID & COMPARISON Long-tailed, boldly streaked brown babbler. Nominate has rufous-brown crown with thin white streaks, dirty-white lores, supercilium, and ear coverts, and dark chestnut malar stripe. Upperparts chestnut with white streaking. Wings and long, rounded tail pale brown. Underparts creamy-white with broad, long, chestnut streaking on breast sides and flanks. Juvenile buffier with fainter streaks and straighter bill. Race latouchei has a black malar stripe and is smaller; bonvaloti darker above and larger. BARE PARTS Iris yellow. Bill arched, black. Feet brownish-pink. VOICE Clear, loud, slowly enunciated four-note whistle, repeated over and over with pauses lasting about 5 seconds. — Craig Brelsford


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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