Giant Babax

Giant Babax Pterorhinus waddelli occurs only in Sikkim (India) and Tibet, with waddelli resident in Lhasa Prefecture east to the Yalu Zangbu River (upper Brahmaputra River) and south to Shannan Prefecture, and jomo in the Chumbi Valley in eastern Shigatse Prefecture. Inhabits scrubby edges of coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests, from 2700 m to 4600 m. Declining within its restricted range as forests are felled, but where habitat is still suitable can be locally common. Usually in groups; sometimes with giant laughingthrush. Nominate is streaky and brownish like Chinese babax, but is larger and paler (jomo larger and paler still) and has a longer bill and tail and only a hint of a malar stripe. Has pale-grey crown and upperparts with irregular brown streaking, thinner on crown and broader on upperparts. Grey rump has little or no streaking, and tail is pale brown. Wings brown with grey fringing. Like upperparts, underparts are grey with brown streaking, but streaks thinner and more widely spaced. Bill long, decurved, black; feet black. Pleasant song reminiscent of thrush’s, but whistles are sharper and less fluty; loud, harsh calls. — Craig Brelsford

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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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